TELEVISION / BREIFING: Doctoring the past

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The Independent Culture
Drama on the new ITV network continues to be about as risky as a chastity belt. There's nothing exactly wrong with STV'S DOCTOR FINLAY (9pm ITV), it's just that it's so predictable: a charming period setting (with enough steam engines to satisfy the most ardent gricer), a bit of Casualty-style medical jargon and all those nostalgic associations with the Casebook of the 1960s. The original series has been updated from the 1920s to 1946. In 'The Return', Bill Craig's screenplay based on A J Cronin's characters, Finlay (David Rintoul) returns to Tannochbrae from the war to be ditched by his fiancee (Margo Gunn). To add to his woes, his partner, Dr Cameron (Ian Bannen), is losing his grip, and Finlay has been saddled with an upstart locum (Jason Flemyng). Only the ever-reliable Janet (Annette Crosbie, temporarily spared the grouches of Victor Meldrew) holds everything together.

WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (10.30pm C4) is one of many shows that first budded on radio before blooming on television. (You can hear a radio version from 1988 on You Heard It Here First on Radio 4 next Monday.) Tonight's opening show of the fifth series features four of the performers who have been made by WLIIA?: Josie Lawrence, Paul Merton, Mike McShane and Tony Slattery.

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