Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week Nineteen: Shine On Me

As some of you dear blog readers who've arrived at From The North via Facebook or Gallifrey Base will already know, it is with great regret that yer actual Keith Telly Topping has to inform her - seemingly massive - online following that his mother, Lily Topping, died at around 10pm Saturday evening. Having, at least, let this blogger finish his Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS review literally moments before - she always did have impeccable timing, my mother! If she had lasted another two hours she would have left us on the twenty second anniversary of my father's death. That's, also, rather typical of me mam - always that little bit early for everything in case she upset anyone! As a consequence, obviously, bloggerisation has been in somewhat short supply for the last couple of days and, indeed, will continue to be so for the next couple too whilst the funeral arrangements get sorted (it's on Thursday at 10:30, as it happens). I've said this elsewhere, but it's worth repeating: She leaves behind three sons, two daughters-in-law, two grandchildren, a great granddaughter and two step-great granddaughters, a large extended family and a huge number of friends whose lives she touched, all of whom will miss her clarity, her wiseness, her kindness, her occasional sheer daftness and her needle-sharp sense of humour greatly. The world, today, seems a fractionally colder and less welcoming place without her. So, take care of yourselves, dear blog reader, and love the ones your with - without them, you're not the person you can be.

However, like the man said the show must go on. And we - however reluctantly - have to go on with it.

Britain's Got Toilets once again topped the ratings on Saturday with an average overnight audience of 9.31m. The ITV show, which was broadcast at 7pm, was down three hundred thousand punters on the previous week's overnight figure. On BBC1, ratings for The Voice at 8.05pm grew for the fourth consecutive week, scoring a new season high of 7.97 million and closing the gap between its audience and BGT's further. It peaked at 8.9 million. The new Doctor Who episode, Journey To The Centre Of The TARDIS, attracted 4.89m viewers from 6.30pm, a slight drop from the previous episode's overnight - expect a six-and-a-half to seven million final figure for that one once timeshifting is taken into account. Later on ITV, game-show The Cube had 3.32m at 8.15pm and The Jonathan Ross Show took in 2.72m an hour later. BBC2's coverage of World Championship Snooker for an hour from 7pm, picked up nine hundred and twenty thousand. The documentary Young Margaret: Love, Life and Letters also interested nine hundred and twenty thousand viewers at 9pm. Channel Four showed the movie Season of the Witch at 9pm, bringing in 1.21m viewers. Earlier, Sarah Beeny's Selling Houses and Grand Designs attracted five hundred and thirty thousand and eight hundred and fifty thousand respectively in the two hours from 7pm. Channel Five's double bill of NCIS, scored five hundred and sixty seven thousand and seven hundred and eighty eight thousand respectively from 7.30pm. Lewis was the highest rated show on the multichannels, being watched by just over nine hundred thousand viewers on ITV3 at 9pm.

The show which replaced Lewis, Endeavour held steady in the ratings on Sunday evening for ITV, overnight data has revealed. The Inspector Morse prequel drama attracted 5.3 million punters at 8pm. Catchphrase had earlier being watched 4.50m glakes at 6.45pm, while Off Their Rockers - bogglingly - had an audience of 4.68m numskulls at 7.30pm. BBC1's Countryfile was once again the most watched show of the night, with 6.71m viewers at 7pm. Antiques Roadshow was seen by 5.53m at 8pm. The Village's penultimate episode attracted a slightly increased 4.82m at 9pm. BBC2's evening coverage of the World Snooker Championship racked up 1.02m at 7pm. The documentary about billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch, Battle With Britain was watched by eight hundred and three thousand at 9pm. The second part of Bill Bailey's Jungle Hero was marginally up from the previous week's figure to 1.64m at 8pm.

Here's the consolidated and final ratings for the Top Twenty Three programmes week-ending 21 April:-
1 Britain's Got Toilets - Sat ITV - 11.15m
2 Coronation Street - Mon ITV - 9.78m
3 The Voice - Sat BBC1 - 9.50m
4 Broadchurch - Mon ITV - 9.00m
5 EastEnders - Mon BBC1 - 8.72m
6 Emmerdale - Fri ITV - 6.87m
7 Countryfile - Sun BBC1 - 6.78m
8 Doctor Who - Sat BBC1 - 6.61m
9 Endeavour - Sun ITV - 6.48m
10 The Syndicate - Tue BBC1 - 6.37m
11 BBC News - Sun BBC1 - 6.28m
12 The Village - Sun BBC1 - 6.19m
13 Scott & Bailey - Wed ITV - 6.05m
14 Casualty - Sat BBC1 - 5.90m
15 Ten O'Clock News - Mon BBC1 - 5.74m
16 Antiques Roadshow - Sun BBC1 - 5.69m
17 Have I Got News For You - Fri BBC1 - 5.53m
18 The Ice Cream Girls - Fri ITV - 5.53m*
19 MasterChef - Thu BBC1 - 5.26m
20 Panorama - Mon BBC1 - 5.14m
21 Six O'Clock News - Wed BBC1 - 4.94m
22 Catchphrase - Sun ITV - 4.79m*
23 Holby City - Tues BBC1 - 4.68m

It's usually The Doctor who regenerates, but it looks like the TARDIS her very self may be making a return to the UK's high streets. The Daily Scum Mail (and, most of the other, proper, papers to be fair) report that 'thinktank' Policy Exchange has called for the blue police telephone boxes, which were phased out in the 1960s, to be brought back to save money and 'improve service to the public.' It says: 'These would be technologically enabled police contact points, featuring two-way audiovisual technology so the public could communicate directly with the police.' But could some hapless bobby walk into one and suddenly find him or herself on Skaro? You never know.

Broadchurch's Olivia Colman will appear opposite Sheridan Smith in new BBC1 drama The 7:39. Yer actual David Morrissey and Scott & Bailey's Sean Maguire will also appear in the two-part romance. Good cast. The 7:39 has been written by David Nicholls (scriptwriter of the excellent Starter For Ten) and is described by Nicholls as ;a love story for grown-ups. I'm delighted to be writing for the BBC again and working with such a terrific cast and production team,' said Nicholls. Exploring the romantic lives of commuters on the 7.39 train into Waterloo, the drama will explore the lives of frustrated husband Carl (Morrissey), his wife Maggie (Colman), health club manager Sally (Smith) and her personal trainer fiancé Ryan (Maguire). Over a fight for a seat, Sally and Carl meet and the pair soon find their lives transformed by their daily train journeys. Ben Stephenson, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, said: 'I'm bowled over by the award-winning and stellar cast starring in The 7.39. But it's perhaps no surprise given the wonderful scripts by David Nicholls, in his first television drama since his novel, One Day, became a worldwide phenomenon. Like that novel, The 7.39 is laugh out loud funny, painfully truthful, emotionally agonising and brilliantly British!'

Charlotte Moore has been appointed as the acting controller of BBC1. The current commissioning editor of documentaries will hold the role until a permanent appointment is made. The announcement was made by outgoing BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, who becomes BBC director of television on 7 May. 'Charlotte is a fantastic creative leader and I'm confident she will do a great job as interim controller following her spell recently in charge of the BBC Daytime portfolio,' Cohen said. 'The most important thing is that we carry on with business as usual and Charlotte will be empowered to make commissioning decisions and maintain BBC1's momentum.' Moore's past credits as producer/director have included Lagos Airport for Channel Four, Great Britons: Churchill and the excellent Living With Cancer. She became head of documentaries at IWC Media, before joining the BBC four years ago as commissioning executive of documentaries and was then promoted to commissioning editor in 2009.

Here's the next load of yer actual Top Telly Tips:-

Saturday 4 May
In tonight's Doctor Who - T'Crimson Horror 6:30 BBC1 - t'people of a Victorian Yorkshire mill town are t'terrified when t'bodies start washing up from t'river, bright red and wax-like - but with t'Doctor and t'Clara nowhere t'be seen, it's up to t'Siulrian detective Madame Vastra - last seen in the 2012 Christmas special T'Snowmen - along with her lesbian lover Jenny and Strax t'Sontaran t'take centre stage as they attempt to get t'bottom of t'mystery. It seems t'answer lies behind t'imposing gates of t'Sweetville mill, owned by t'plain-speaking Mrs Millyflower. 'Yorkshire: 1893' is apparently painted on a stone wall as t'camera rises to reveal factories belching 'orrible black smoke into grimly grey skies. It's t'ideal backdrop for yer actual Mark Gatiss t'weave his dark, period-horror magic, in a mildly steampunk-flecked story of deadly Victorian malarkey and t'doings. Central to it all is t'forbidding Gillyflower (a fruity turn from Dame Diana Rigg her very t'self), who leads a phalanx of bonneted biddies in a moral crusade. Against ... stuff. There's a big recruitment drive at the giant Sweetville factory (the idea of the model village for model workers is, clearly, inspired by Cadbury's real-life Birmingham dormitory town Bournville), but why are bright-red corpses turning up in the vicinity? And where, exactly, is The Doctor when there's trouble a t'mill? Full of Gothic grandeur and an embarrassment of grotesque riches, it's possibly the most purely entertaining episode of the series so far, full of naughty gags – some involving the improbable trio of Strax, Vastra and Jenny – and directorial chutzpah from Saul Metzstein: one extended flashback is particularly cheeky, taking the show into genuinely undiscovered country. Rigg and her real-life daughter, yer actual Rachael Stirling. guest star, along with Catrin Stewart, Neve McIntosh and Dan Starkey as the Time Lord's Earth-bound investigative pals.

In the third two-part adaptation of a crime novel by Arne Dahl - 9:00 BBC4 - a family's car blows up during a road trip in Holland, instantly killing everyone inside. So, we can probably discount suicide. The A Unit is immediately called upon to investigate, and soon discovers the man who died was a police officer working undercover at a restaurant belonging to celebrity chef David Billinger. The unit's various personal lives are increasingly dominating the action in this occasionally formulaic, but very watchable, Swedish thriller, but as they are such a likeable bunch of misfits that it's not too off-putting. Dear Viggo, who escaped crucifixion in the first episode, has a pleasant surprise, while likely lad Chavez strikes up a friendship with a female cop. Still, there is work to be done after the family dies when their car is bombed. The plot is, as usual, spindly and very complicated, involving the owner of a posh restaurant and a particularly dopey pair of thieves. But the main question is, what on earth is going on with that supernaturally omniscient police station office cleaner? Starring Irene Lindh.

The final round of blind auditions on The Voice - 8:05 BBC1 - the last chance for the remaining hopefuls to win a place on the coaches' teams. Once Jessie J, Will.He.Is, Tom Jones and Danny O'Donoghue have chosen their twelve, they will train them in readiness for next week's battle rounds. Holly Willoughby and Reggie Yates are backstage with the singers and their families.

Sunday 5 May
In the final part of The Village - 9:00 BBC1 - Old Bert's reminiscences reach the year 1920. The war may be over but it continues to cast a long shadow as the villagers try to come to terms with their losses - physical and emotional. Schoolteacher Gerard Eyre is released from prison, having been locked up as a conscientious objector, and returns to find a place of change - but when Bert, now eighteen, invites his former teacher to stay at the family farm, it leads to open hostility with John, as the Middletons struggle to come to terms with their own war-related grief. A war memorial is unveiled - but there is upset when one name is left off the list of the fallen. A mood of mourning has settled over the Derbyshire community. The veterans have returned. Eyre finds himself homeless and not widely welcomed. 'A hundred and thirty seven men went to fight from this village,' the pub landlord growls. 'Twenty five came back. And you.' Elsewhere, Bairstow – the quietly sinister Joe Armstrong – has become Allingham's political agent and helps him deal with an outbreak of Spanish 'flu. But the main drama surrounds the planned memorial, a subject on which the characters lecture each other a fair bit. Should dear, departed Joe be included? John Simm, Maxine Peake and Matt Stokoe star with Alfie Stewart taking on the role of the teenage Bert.

Snow lies as thick on the ground in Oxford as cowshit does in Texas and a wintry discontent hangs over Fred Thursday in Endeavour - 8:00 ITV. A London gangster with whom Fred has some unpleasant history arrives in the city and opens a nightclub. Fred (Roger Allam) is unhappy and that's not something anyone wants to see. And young Morse is rattled when he receives some bad news from his sister, Joyce, which sends him haring back up t'north. There are also crimes to investigate in the final episode of this four-part series, when an Oxford don is found dead in a suburban street, the apparent victim of a hit-and-run. As the sleuth studies for his forthcoming sergeant's exam, he investigates the hit-and-run. The victim had been at odds with his peers over the fate of a potentially lucrative parcel of college-owned land, and the case is complicated by the appearance of Thursday's old gangland enemy - whom he must face alone while Endeavour makes a trip back to Lincolnshire to visit his ailing father. It's, generally, been a classy quartet of stories – episode two, Fugue, in particular was superb – and Shaun Evans has quietly made himself comfortable as his very own Morse. We learn a bit more about him tonight and there's a nice little pay-off for Inspector Morse fans.

Tonight sees a timely repeat of Margaret - 9:00 BBC4 - one of the best portrayals of Margaret Thatcher on screen, this vivid, often funny, dramatisation of her downfall stars Lindsay Duncan as a hectoring, iron-willed Thatcher, yelling lines like, 'I will change the soul of this country, Willie. We shall prevail!' And, thankfully, not even attempting to do the voice. The impression is of a blazing personality surrounded by stuffed suits. John Sessions is scene-stealing as Geoffrey Howe, delivering a stiletto blow in his resignation speech; and in Michael Maloney's hands, John Major lurks cunningly in the wings of history waiting for his moment. In November 1990, deputy prime minister Howe resigns with a speech in which he urges his fellow Conservative Party members to 'consider their loyalty' to Thatcher. A leadership challenge is announced and former minister Michael Heseltine throws his hat into the ring, but the Iron Lady refuses to take it seriously - unaware her premiership will be over just nine days later. The blogger was a bit worried before watching the film in 2009 that it might be too similar in both style and tone to Granada's excellent Thatcher: The Final Days (1991), which covered, essentially, the same story. But the structure (with much use of flashbacks) made Margaret easily different enough to stand on its own merits. One of the prime source texts for the piece (specifically, the back-stage shenanigans) appeared to be The Alan Clark Diaries (particularly the extensive details of the secret meeting held at Tristan Garel-Jones' home on the night after the first ballot when, most commentators now agree, three quarters of the cabinet got together and decided to, effectively, stage a coup. I particularly enjoyed the, now infamous, sight of that oily little twat John Selwyn Gummer (nicely played by Ian Hughes as a man who appeared as wet as a slap in the face with a haddock) blubbling like a big girl as he tried to persuade Thatcher to quit with dignity. One can never get too much of a sight like that. Ian Diarmid portrays loyal husband Denis (and gets the best line of the drama watching the infamous moment when John Sergeant is addressing the camera just as Thatcher appears behind him and says: 'She's behind you, you pinko prat!' Michael Heseltine and Kenneth Clarke are played by Oliver Cotton and Kevin McNally. Roy Marsden is splendid as a spectacularly foul-mouthed Norman Tebbit. Michael Cochran is even better as a fouler-mouthed (but, very funny) Alan Clark. With Robert Hardy, James Fox, Phillip Jackson and Rosemary Leach as the Queen. Terrific stuff.

Monday 6 May
In the final part of James Nesbitt's Ireland - 8:00 ITV - the actor meets a restaurateur in training for the World Oyster Opening Championship in Galway, explores the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim and finds out about the life of a former pro-surfer who runs a surf school in Lahinch, County Clare. He also visits Dublin's busy port during preparations for the Tall Ships Races.
The Norfolk Broads have been managed by man for thousands of years, so there should be traces of ancient human activity everywhere. But the trick is spotting them, which is where aerial photography comes into its own. Over the past few years alone, photography of crop marks has revealed over nine hundred previously unsurveyed historic sites, and archaeologists are now beginning to understand how the land was first worked back in the Bronze Age. And, resolving mysteries about lost Roman towns and medieval monasteries as we discover in The Flying Archaeologist - 8:30 BBC4. Ben Robinson is an excellent guide, talking knowledgeably with fellow archaeologists, and transmitting the excitement of excavation and discovery. Ben, whom dear blog readers may know from his regular appearances in Time Team, flies over the Norfolk where aerial photographs have discovered nine hundred and forty five previously unknown ancient sites, many of which are making historians rethink the area. The fate of the Roman town of Caistor St Edmund has puzzled archaeologists for decades. It has long been a mystery why the centre never became a modern town. Now archaeologists have discovered a key piece of evidence. And, near Ormesby the first proof of Bronze Age settlement in the East of England has been revealed.

Manager Trish invites an army sergeant to Brownall Job Centre to hold an armed forces recruitment day and the soldier soon finds himself the object of intense scrutiny in the second episode of The Job Lot - 9:30 ITV. Elsewhere, benefit fraud investigator George goes undercover to catch a man who's signing on while working as a decorator. Everyone’s dander is up in week two of this finely observed - and, even, occasionally, funny - character piece. To boost target figures, frazzled Trish calls in Sergeant Steve Fox (played by Sean Pertwee) to set up a recruitment stand but only attracts the attention of the staff. Angela wants to bed him, Karl thinks he'll be a cool new mate, while Trish's ardour leads to an embarrassing entanglement in the ladies. Now in his late forties, Pertwee commands the screen even better than his dad, Jon, once did and should be on TV far more often than he is (not counting his wall-to-wall voice-work on adverts and MasterChef: The Professionals). Starring Sarah Hadland, Adeel Akhtar and Russell Tovey.

Tuesday 7 May
Lord Alan Sugar-Sweetie begins another search for a candidate worthy of setting up in business with him - ideally one that won't take him to an industrial tribunal this time - with a a quarter of a million smackers investment to help get their idea off the ground in The Apprentice - 9:00 BBC1. As usual, the millionaire businessman sets out his stall with his introductory pep talk - but this one takes place at midnight, after which it's straight on with the first task. The sixteen contestants are divided into teams - boys versus girls as usual - and each group is taken to a shipping container full of imported products. Their challenge is to work through the night to sort the products out and then sell everything before 4pm. The search begins for businesses that will be interested and dawn deals are done - but with the clock ticking, the blunders begin. As a new batch of wannabe-moguls scramble around London on their first task flogging a load of what Lord Sugar-Sweetie likes to call 'tut' (bog roll, mugs, lucky waving cats et cetera), team leader Jason tries to raise morale: 'We're going to run like hell and we're going to sell these ukuleles!' he yells, in a rallying cry you would only hear on The Apprentice, thank God. It's a little spritz of the absurdity this series bottles so well, and series nine shows no sign of running dry. Jason has already confided that his intelligence is 'like a machete in the jungle' (blunt, presumably) but, in fact he turns out to be one of the relatively less ruthless, type-A personalities bundled together into a big scrum of vicious one-upmanship for our entertainment. 'I'm a businesswoman, darling!' announces one of his rivals, as if this ended all arguments. 'I'm half-machine,' crows another. 'I took inspiration from Napoleon,' says a third. Err ... he lost and ended his life on a desert island in shame and ignominy, matey. 'You're all a bloody waste of space!' bellows Lord Sugar-Sweetie. They can't all be, surely? The second episode is tomorrow at 9pm.

In the latest utterly pointless vehicle for, otherwise unemployable waste of oxygen Caroline Quentin, the actress presents a documentary exploring 'the natural beauty of three of Britain's most popular national parks', beginning with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs in the South-West of Scotland. It's called, with stunning originality, Caroline Quentin's National Parks - 8:00 ITV - and, it's sure to be diarrhoea just as everything else this woman touches these days is. At Inveraray Castle on the outskirts of the park, Caroline enjoys the annual Highland Games event, before spending the night with a group of volunteers monitoring bats on one of the loch's most picturesque islands, Inchcailloch. She also finds time to help tag a roost of owl chicks and take a dip in the icy cold water with a wild-swimming enthusiast. Wretched.

During a live TV news broadcast, a thunder storm and subsequent power cut cause the lights to go out in the studio and when they come back on twenty seconds later, the unpopular news anchor Theresa Shea who was sitting on her own at the desk has been murdered having been stabbed in the back. That's telly for you, dear blog reader. Clearly, then, a case for CSI - 9:00 Channel Five. 'Hmm, we have a locked-room mystery,' announces DB, but as that specialist in locked-room mysteries Jonathan Creek isn't available, the team are on their own. So DB comes up with an ingenious method based on a child's game to work out which of the three main suspects could have committed the dastardly opportunist crime. As the team examines the victim's private life, he ponders who had most to gain from Shea's demise. Plus – finally – Sara answers her mobile and we hear Grissom's voice once more. But, only briefly.

Wednesday 8 May
The Coast team examines stories related to the sea in tonight's episode - 8:00 BBC2. Novice sailor Nick Crane enters the annual one-day yacht race around the Isle of Wight, while Mark Horton relates a gruesome tale of cannibalism and murder which scandalised Victorian Britain when survivors of an 1884 shipwreck killed a cabin boy and drank his blood to survive. In Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Ruth Goodman investigates the story of the Dutch men who adapted their fishing skills to clear mines laid in the seas around British ports during the Second World War and naval historian Nick Hewitt explores the remains of a First World War German U-boat in the mud of the Medway estuary. Last in the current series.

Bosses, regulators and politicians give first-hand accounts of how the balance of power may have started to shift away from bankers, with the Government doing more to control their practices than ever before in a new series Bankers - 9:00 BBC2. The first edition gives an insight into the Libor interest-rate fixing scandal which rocked the industry last summer. Featuring contributions by former Barclays group chairman Marcus Agius, RBS head Philip Hampton, the Bank of England's prudential regulation deputy governor Andrew Bailey and European Central Bank ex-president Jean-Claude Trichet, who examine what the public require from bankers and whether their trust will ever be regained. Narrated by Alex Jennings.

Dorothy becomes concerned her granddaughter Taisie is being influenced by Rachel, while Janet is mortified when Gill berates her for inappropriate behaviour toward young sergeant Rob in Scott & Bailey - 9:00 ITV. The detective duo are sent to investigate the death of a man in a nursing home after his daughter complains about the level of care (or lack of it) he had been receiving. Will they find any evidence of foul play? Detective drama, starring Lesley Sharp, Suranne Jones and Danny Miller.
In the latest episode of Bones - 9:00 Sky Living - Brennan and Booth investigate the murder of a former child soldier from Sierra Leone whose body has been dumped in a barrel of chemicals. Meanwhile, Arastoo's secret romance with Cam proves increasingly difficult to maintain.

Thursday 9 May
A businesswoman's friendship with a charismatic homeless man leads to her learning a number of uncomfortable lessons about her work and private life in the latest Playhouse Presents, The Pavement Psychologist - 8:30 Sky Arts. The drama is written and directed by yer actual Idris Elba, starring Anna Friel, Nonso Anozie, Steven Mackintosh and Reggie Yates.
In the final episode of The Politicians Husband - 9:00 BBC2 - Aiden has to defend himself when a sex scandal threatens to derail any chance of a political comeback, as well as doing further damage to his marriage. He discovers Freya has been less than honest about her whereabouts and the time she is spending with Bruce, and decides to gamble everything to ensure he comes out on top. Drama, starring David Tennant and Emily Watson.

Murder on the Home Front - 9:00 ITV - is a two-part crime drama set (ala Foyle's War) during the Blitz, loosely based on the memoirs of writer Molly Lefebure. When several young women are found murdered, Detective Inspector Freddy Wilkins believes that the obvious suspect is loner Wilfred Ziegler, but Home Office pathologist Lennox Collins and his secretary Molly Cooper have their doubts and employ ground-breaking forensic techniques to ensure the right man is brought to justice. Starring Patrick Kennedy, Tamzin Merchant, David Sturzaker and James Fleet.
Lucie Green and Chris Lintott investigate a storm in Saturn's atmosphere, and reveal the latest news about its moons Titan and Enceladus in the latest The Sky At Night - 7:30 BBC4. Pete Lawrence and Paul Abel look at the planet's 'opposition effect' and also explore some globular clusters, while Chris North examines a new camera that will soon be fitted to the International Space Station, and which will capture Earth in stunning detail.
Friday 10 May
Charles Dance, Stephen Mangan, Isy Suttie and Gok Wan, girlfriend, join team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack for Would I Lie To You? - 8:30 BBC1 - the comedy panel show, trying to hoodwink their opponents with absurd facts and plausible lies about themselves. Rob Brydon hosts. As usual.

Mancunian punk poet and Goddamn national treasure John Cooper Clarke and right-wing Conservative MP Michael Fabricant are an unlikely pair to find on a TV show, but they make up the teams as Paul Merton and Ian Hislop return for another headline battle in Have I Got News For You - 9:00 BBC1. A guest host - yet to be announced - quizzes them about the events of the past seven days.
Amanda Vickery and Alastair Sooke oversee proceedings as a group of experts stage a Regency ball at Chawton House, Hampshire, to mark the two hundredth anniversary of the first publication of Jane Austen's classic novel in Pride & Prejudice: Having a Ball - 9:00 BBC2. The team uses music from the Austen family archives and dances and dishes mentioned in the author's novels and letters to recreate the experience, and Amanda is joined by literary historian John Mullan to reflect on the importance of the ball and its role in Nineteenth-Century society.

And, so to the news: The BBC has confirmed they have recommissioned a second series of critically acclaimed Sunday night drama, The Village for six more episodes. Written by Peter Moffat the drama stars Maxine Peake, John Simm and Nico Mirallegro among the cast. Moffat said: 'I'm thrilled at the prospect of bringing to the screen the plans I've got for all these characters (and some new ones) as the life of the village moves away from the horror of war and into the roaring Twenties. Boom and bust, the Charleston and the Black Bottom, motor cars, extreme politics, fish and chips, jazz, bananas, cinema, the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the middle classes – the outside world comes to the village, bringing with it the big drama that change always generates. I'm very grateful for the support the BBC have given this project right from the start. No other broadcaster I can think of would have the confidence to do it.' Danny Cohen, the - current - controller of BBC1 added: 'The Village is drama of the highest quality. Brilliantly written, beautifully produced, and performed with huge talent and imagination. I'm really proud to have it on the BBC and delighted it is coming back for a second series.'

Hayley Atwell will star in ITV's new police drama Life of Crime, which launches in May. Atwell is cast as risk-taking police officer Denise Woods and the show explores her career over three decades in the Met. The crime drama unravels across three episodes, which are based in 1985, with the backdrop of the Brixton riots, 1997 and 2013. Declan Croghan (of Waking the Dead and Ripper Street) wrote the series. Life of Crime starts on Friday 10 May at 9pm on ITV.

ITV has commissioned a four-part period drama based on the 1666 London fire. The Great Fire of London will follow historical and fictional characters at the time of the catastrophe which destroyed much of the city (although, curiously, killed only four people - this blogger learned that off Qi!) 'The scale and ambition of the drama will be immense,' a statement said. 'From the humble baker Thomas Farriner and his family to the ambitious Samuel Pepys and King Charles II, the characters' stories will interweave as the city, and their lives, are changed beyond imagining during one of our nation's greatest historical disasters.' The drama will follow the four consecutive days in September 1666 when the fire took hold. 'The fire consumes homes and lives as loyalties and friendships are tested and passions come to the fore. As the greatest city of the 17th century is destroyed, the fire is a catalyst to acts of forbidden love, deceit and despair,' the statement continued. 'Ultimately, London is changed forever, paving the way for the dawn of a new era, in which modern London will rise from the ashes.' The series, written by ITV News political editor Tom Bradby, is the first commission from Steve November, who was appointed director of drama at ITV this week.

Can a TV journalist sue their own programme? One only asks because Channel Four News's Jonathan Rugman would seem to have grounds for doing so after a taxi interview with the leader of Ukip saw the luckless reporter labelled and libelled as 'Nigel Farage' in a caption superimposed on his midriff. Next week: Krishnan Guru-Murthy is Boris Johnson.

This year's BAFTA TV Craft Awards have been dominated by coverage of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. Three prizes were handed out to the technical teams behind coverage of last summer's games - including an award for coverage of the Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford. The BBC's coverage of the ceremony was recognised with the Director: Multi Camera trophy, while coverage of 'Super Saturday' - the night on which Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford all won track and field gold - was honoured in the Sound: Factual field. Channel Four's coverage of the Paralympic Games won the award for Digital Creativity. Call The Midwife won the Director: Fiction and Make Up & Hair Design' awards, while The Hollow Crown took home accolades for Original Music and Sound: Fiction. The Fear also won a pair of awards, taking the award for Editing: Fiction and Photography & Lighting: Fiction. Other programmes honoured at Sunday's ceremony - which was hosted by Stephen Mangan - included Parade's End, Titanic and The Girl. Derren Brown: Apocalypse took the Entertainment Craft Team award, while Julia Davis and Sally Wainwright triumphed in the writing categories for Hunderby and Last Tango in Halifax respectively. Hamish Hamilton was honoured with the Special Award in recognition of his achievements in direction.

The good thing about out-going BBC1 controller Danny Cohen, from the viewer's point of view at least, is that he's always seemed eager to let you know when his own commissions are, in fact, rubbish – albeit only by where he has then put in the schedule. Ben Elton's latest twenty four carat turkey The Wright Way, for example, was hung out to dry at 10.35pm from episode one, like the Scouse slushathon Being Eileen; Film 2013 is lucky to finish before midnight, and even the prestigious, heavily promoted The Editors has already been ominously booted out to 11.25pm for this week's second outing. Let us all hope his replacement is just as prone to public self-flagellation.

Him & Her is to return to BBC3 for a fourth and final series. The six-part Him & Her: The Wedding - starring Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani - will be set entirely during Laura's wedding. In addition, the channel has recommissioned Pramface - the sitcom, which stars Scarlett Alice Johnson and Sean Michael Verey as two young parents, will return for a third series. Alongside the two returning series, BBC3 controller Zai Bennett has also ordered several new comedies for TV and online. Uncle stars stand-up comedian Nick Helm as Andy, a dissolute out-of work musician who forges an unlikely alliance with his eleven-year-old nephew, while People Just Do Nothing is a mockumentary about pirate radio station Kurupt FM and its crew. In addition, eight comedy pilots have been commissioned for BBC iPlayer to showcase up-and-coming comedy talent. Bamboo will follow 'two posh idiots' who try to set up their own nightclub, Fuzzbox is 'a comedic take' on 'a puppet show' and C Bomb will tell the story of 'the Godfather of the South Yorkshire dubstep scene.' Nick Helm's Heavy Entertainment is a studio-based comedy show, The Committee is a new sitcom set at a Welsh social club, while Going Native is another, if you will, mockumentary starring Mona Yusef as three different foreign women - a Russian gold digger, a Japanese Internet sensation and a Middle Eastern entrepreneur. The final online pilot is Kerry - a multi-character sketch show written by and starring Him & Her's Kerry Howard. 'New British comedy is king on BBC3, so I'm delighted to be able to announce we've commissioned Nick Helm's first TV series, Uncle, and that another one of last year's Comedy Feed pilots is going to full series in the fantastic People Just Do Nothing,' said Zai Bennett. 'We are also celebrating success on Three by recommissioning the delightful Pramface and the sublime Him & Her. To ensure we keep finding the hits of the future we are also soon showcasing our latest batch of eight Comedy Feed pilots on BBC iPlayer.'

Uncle, meanwhile, may seem familiar to Channel Four viewers. The comedy ran as one of the pilot on C4's 4Funnnies strand last year. Perhaps Shane Allen, the BBC's new controller of comedy commissioning, will have the last laugh on Jay Hunt, his former boss at Channel Four, after 'borrowing' a show his previous employer declined to turn into a series. Still, having Channel Four do the BBC's development work is good value for money for the licence-fee payer.

Not for the first time, The Politician's Husband has shown TV drama as hopeless on newspapers, with laughably dull, merely factual mocked-up Sun headlines – Hoynes loses leadership gamble and Freya out from husband's shadow (those would never be Sun headlines; three of the words have more than one syllable for a kick-off) – marking the first episode's crises. (In reality, the paper's splash for James Purnell's resignation, Paula Milne's probable model, was I quit now you quit). The Gruniad's politics blog was demeaned too by being depicted as running a piece with the hackneyed, puffy headline The rise and rise of Freya Gardner. BBC bosses will perhaps be more concerned, however, that the series portrays politicians and their backroom teams as getting their information from Sky News, contrary to an edict reportedly requiring dramas to feature their own news channel.

Hit film franchise Scream could be turned into a TV series, after MTV announced they had signed off on a one-hour pilot. Wes Craven, director of all four films in the series, is in talks to direct the pilot which will be broadcast next summer. The first slasher film, about a masked serial killer who stalks his victims, was released in 1996 and spawned three sequels. All four films starred Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette. The TV series will reinvent the franchise - acclaimed for its deconstruction of the horror genre - which was created and written by Kevin Williamson. The first film was widely credited with reinventing the horror movie in the 1990s. According to box office tracker, the four films have taken more than six hundred million dollars worldwide, with the original 1996 film reported to be the highest grossing slasher film in the US. Scream has joined Teen Wolf, another TV series commissioned by MTV off the back of a cult film, which is also expected to reach the small screen in 2014.

A woman who won ninety five thousand smackers on Deal or No Deal has been ordered to carry out two hundred and fifteen hours of unpaid work after admitting benefit fraud. Caroline Banana, from Stoke-on-Trent, had admitted wrongly receiving more than six grand in housing and council tax benefits and income support. Banana failed to declare her winnings from the Channel Four game show and did not disclose that she had found work. She received a twelve-month community order at North Staffordshire Justice Centre. Banana, who had found work including jobs at a chemists, hospital and doctors' surgery, falsely claimed the benefits between 28 March, 2011 and 13 May 2012. She also admitting falsely claiming free school meal allowances. Banana, of Whitridge Grove, Bentilee, failed to declare her windfall from November 2011 to Stoke City Council and the Department for Work and Pensions.

For today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day, here's a top bit of Roxy.

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