Are television superhero dramas just marketing tools?

TV is churning out streams of movie franchise spin-offs. Why can't they give us some real characters, says Sarah Hughes

Simon Callow: The actor and writer on Jesus, a hatred of monster virus verbs, and the curse of Four Weddings and a Funeral

Every time I'm on stage I feel that I'm making the case for the theatre [Callow has appeared in more than 40 different stage productions over his 40-year stage career]. The theatre is an incredibly precious place; it's a chance to convince people that it's a life-changing and necessary experience filled with extraordinary emotions; it's an aesthetic version of the National Health Service, giving people new life, hope and energy.

Presenter Michael Palin and film-maker Roger Mills look back on 25 years of globe-trotting

Without the award-winning film-maker Roger Mills, there would never have been a Michael Palin, travel presenter. Here, the duo look back on a decade spent criss-crossing the world - the tiffs, the bungee jumps, the fermented spittle…

How Britain's favourite TV shows get their look: Meet the designers who bring Downton Abbey, Sherlock and Doctor Who to life

How do you recreate Machu Picchu on a Welsh beach? Or bring the up and downstairs of Downton Abbey to life? In the latest in his series on the people behind the TV scenes, Gerard Gilbert meets the production designers bringing the nation’s favourite shows to life

Terry Wogan: The broadcaster on Eurovision tipples, Michael Phelps’s big feet, and being blanked by Madonna

Who has been the worst behaved guest on Children in Need?

Grace Dent on TV: Strictly Come Dancing female duo with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman is crazy but might just work

It was not a high-excitement spectacle, more visual chewing gum

Game of Thrones fans can now perfect Dothraki pronunciation on new language course

The language now features upwards of 3,200 words

Long Lost Family, ITV

Long Lost Family: What Happened Next, ITV, review - Happy endings with a twist

New spin-off series demonstrates that a happy ending isn't always happy ever after

Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

Countdown: What's the winning formula that makes this the longest-running game show in television history?

As 'Countdown' becomes the longest-running game show in television history, Rhodri Marsden visits the website where the show's true obsessives go to hone their skills

TV wildlife presenter Steve Backshall is about to face his biggest fear ... Strictly Come Dancing

Steve Backshall has had a run-in with a hippo, come face to face with a giant rat and even broken his back. But, the cult kids' TV adventurer tells Lena Corner, what terrifies him is the thought of never having children – and strutting his stuff tonight on 'Strictly Come Dancing'

Rhodri Marsden's Interesting Objects: The Mastermind chair

* Forty-two years ago this week, the Radio Times alerted us to the first screening of a "new and exciting brain game" called Mastermind.

Grace Dent on TV: Jamie Oliver’s shameless helping of food porn is just a pukka treat

This week Grace watched... Jamie’s Comfort Food, Channel 4

Stateside success: British comedian John Oliver

Inside Television: Sesame Street is child's play for word-perfect comic John Oliver

Inside TV first hailed the stateside success of Birmingham-born comedian John Oliver back in May and since then his show Last Week Tonight has built up quite the following. Oliver’s every online mention is greeted with a hail of gushing below-the-line comments, often mentioning his “adorable” British accent and his “dapper” British dress sense.

The X Factor only exists on the judging panel

The X Factor 2014: Cheryl Cole sidelines Mel B as friendship with frenemy Simon Cowell dominates

First look review: The X Factor only exists on the judging panel

Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow

First Essex and Yorkshire, now London: Channel 4's 'Educating...' series is moving to the East End

The show is turning its cameras on Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow. Simon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series being filmed

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Bianca Miller in the final of The Apprentice

Review:The final Apprentice battle between SEO and tights
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
The TV presenter made history by receiving a perfect 120 score
Arts and Entertainment
Code warrior: Jon Hamm in 'Black Mirror: White Christmas'

Review: Charlie Brooker's dystopian sci-fi is far from festive
Arts and Entertainment
Lorenzo Richelmy (L) and Zhu Zhu (R)

Review: Marco Polo
Arts and Entertainment
Andre Lincoln plays Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead season five

Review: The Walking Dead mid-season finale

Arts and Entertainment

Review: Remember Me, BBC1

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Bell in the new BBC series Posh People: Inside Tatler

Review: Posh People: Inside Tatler
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen

Review: Atlantis episode 2, BBC1

Arts and Entertainment
Hardened case: ‘Confessions of a Copper’ heard from Stephen Hayes

Review: Confessions of a Copper

Arts and Entertainment
Tony stares at the 'Daddy Big Ears' drawing his abducted son Oliver drew for him in The Missing

Review: The Missing, episode 4,
Arts and Entertainment
Greek mythological fantasy drama 'Atlantis' returns for the second series

Review: Atlantis, BBC1

Arts and Entertainment
The duo's Channel 4 satire on modern policing, Babylon

Review: Babylon, Channel 4

Arts and Entertainment
All over the shop: ‘Liberty of London’

Review: Liberty of London
Arts and Entertainment
The judges: Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace and Monica Galetti

Review: MasterChef: The Professionals

Arts and Entertainment
24 Hours in Police Custody (Channel 4)

Arts and Entertainment

Review: Doctor Who, Death in Heaven

Arts and Entertainment

Review: The Passing Bells

Arts and Entertainment
Portrait Artist of the Year, Sky Arts 1

Review: Sky Arts 1
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Gomez and Peter Capaldi star in 'Doctor Who'

Review: Doctor Who, Dark Water

Arts and Entertainment
Creep show: Tim Cockerill in ‘Spider House’

Review: Spider House, BBC4

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