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
Relocation, relocation: Zawe Ashton travels the pathway to Northampton

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
BBC Three was launched a little over five years ago with the slogan: “Three, is a magic number, yes it is.”

BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital move

TV
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer

film
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Armie Hammer in the new film of ‘The Lone Ranger’

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Arts and Entertainment
The audience aimed thousands of Apple’s product units at Taylor Swift throughout the show
musicReview: On stage her manner is natural, her command of space masterful
Arts and Entertainment
Channel 4 is reviving its Chris Evans-hosted Nineties hit TFI Friday

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford plays Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade (1989)

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
A Glastonbury reveller hides under an umbrella at the festival last year

Glastonbury
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Miles Morales is to replace Peter Parker as the new Spider-Man

comics
Arts and Entertainment
The sequel to 1993's Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, has stormed into the global record books to score the highest worldwide opening weekend in history.

film
Arts and Entertainment
Odi (Will Tudor)
tvReview: Humans, episode 2
Arts and Entertainment
Can't cope with a Port-A-loo? We've got the solution for you

FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets

Arts and Entertainment
Some zookeepers have been braver than others in the #jurassiczoo trend

Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant

Arts and Entertainment
An original Miffy illustration
art
Arts and Entertainment
Man of mystery: Ian McKellen as an ageing Sherlock Holmes
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Kitchen set: Yvette Fielding, Patricia Potter, Chesney Hawkes, Sarah Harding and Sheree Murphy
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans has been confirmed as the new host of Top Gear
TV
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.

    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
    Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

    No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

    Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
    Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

    Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

    The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
    Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

    Something wicked?

    Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
    10 best sun creams for body

    10 best sun creams for body

    Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

    Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
    Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

    There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

    The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map