Last Night's TV: Kidnap and Ransom/ITV1
Hugh's Big Fish Fight/Channel 4
Michel Roux's Service/BBC2

There's something going on at ITV. Where's The Bill? Where's Kerry Katona? And what's all this about Downton Abbey? Rather like Jordan when she became Katie Price, ITV seems to be getting classier. And cleverer (or cleverer-seeming). To wit: Kidnap and Ransom, a three-part drama that boasts a cast and crew of such pedigree, it's practically BBC. Script by Patrick Harbinson (previously: Law & Order, 24, ER), and cast of television greats: Trevor Eve, John Hannah (though we'll have to wait, regrettably, until next week to see him in action) and a recently resurgent Helen Baxendale. Not bad for a channel last seen airing TV programmes like All at Sea (not that they've entirely vanished; hang around too long after Kidnap and Ransom and you'll have the misfortune of catching Odd One In, the "comedy" game show featuring Peter Andre.) Still, Kidnap and Ransom has all the makings of a classy package, and, by and large, it lives up to its promise.

Dominic King (Eve) is a private hostage negotiator, part of a plush company of international experts. Aging somewhat, reeling from the death of a hostage on a mission in Bolivia, he's under pressure at home to give it all up in favour of a normal life with the family. As he ponders this fate, he's asked to negotiate the release of a biologist snatched from her taxi in South Africa. While en route to the airport, Naomi Shaffer's driver has been shot, and her phone is being used to make calls demanding ransom.

As the snatched Schaffer, Emma Fielding vigorously portrayed the horror, the living nightmare, that kidnap must be. Her husband, played convincingly by Patrick Baladi, wanders round in a daze, by turns angry and bemused, tearing at his hair and attempting to placate his daughter. Schaffer's kidnappers, meanwhile, are genuinely frightening: masked, hysterical, dancing on the spot as if to summon evil spirits. In all, it was a persuasive drama, the human trauma sufficiently realistic, sufficiently great as to render the viewer hooked. I was watching on a computer screen at my desk; the task necessitated a hefty dose of self-restraint to avoid the hand-wringing, out-of-skin jumping that the script warranted.

Not that it was perfect. Several performances – particularly Tumisho Masha as the South African Inspector Clive Lanning – whiffed of ham. And at regular intervals, we were treated to a naff series of effects: screen dropping to monochrome, a number of jagged close-ups to thumping music. You know the sort: duh-duh-DAH. Awful, yes, though not so much as to turn it into a turkey. The close of last night's episode saw the plot twist just as Schaffer was about to be rescued. Cheesy graphics or not, I'll be tuning in to see what happens.

Why are none of the chefs in Channel 4's Hugh's Big Fish Fight women? It was a question asked by a blogger I follow on Twitter, and it's a fair point. Come on, Channel 4, what's up with that? Sure, you can argue that none of the channels' big names are women (in food, anyway), but then that's their fault too. Anyway, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's nice so we won't moan too much. I've liked him ever since River Cottage Everyday, in particular the programme on meat (I'd still like that book, in fact). Before that I thought he was a bit of a nuisance, too preachy by half (all very well living the good life when you've got acres of land and a lovely Aga, isn't it?), though I'll happily admit, in retrospect, that I was wrong. Plus ça change.

Last night, of course, Hugh had his preaching guns fully loaded. And you know what? It was fine. Good, even. Great. The final episode of his crusade to bring ethics to the fishing industry focused on the grim – very grim – conditions on salmon farms. Not only are the fish crammed together so tightly that they constantly brush up against one another, but they're fed pellets made of other fish, ground up. This isn't in itself an especially horrific fact, until you learn that much of the fish is wild, and that it takes three kilograms of ground-up wild fish to make one kilogram of farmed salmon. Why aren't we eating the oily, delicious little morsels instead, asked Hugh. Then we'd have three times more fish on our shelves too, not to mention a break from the boring old cod/haddock/salmon roster that dominates most supermarkets. No one seems to know the answer, but looking at the mackerel baps Hugh was offering crowds protesting by Houses of Parliament, it can't be far from discovery. "A thing of beauty," declared Jamie Oliver (he was in the neighbourhood). A thing of beauty indeed.

Episode two of Michel Roux's Service and our truculent trainees were already improving. Well, most of them. Not Jarelle, the sarky larger-than-life attention seeker. Confronted with the task of serving customers at a bacon-and-eggs caff, he was overbearing and boisterous, offering the distinct impression of ridiculing all he meets. Michel, softly spoken antithesis of all things Alan Sugar, called him to one side to give him a what-for. "That's just me. I've got a big personality," explained Jarelle, in a standard regurgitation of that like-me-or-lump-me attitude that plagues so many Big Brother contestants. He was swiftly dispatched home, Michel demonstrating more ruthlessness (not to say good sense) than Sugar ever did. More, please.

Arts and Entertainment
The crowd enjoy Latitude Festival 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'

Is this the end of the Dowager Countess?tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn