TELEVISION / BRIEFING: A very average peak

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The Independent Culture
Kevin Whately - Sgt Lewis from Inspector Morse - could pull in viewers doing a cameo as a Spanish waiter in Eldorado. So his appearance in that safest of ratings bankers, a doctor drama with a picturesque rural setting, does not look like a risky bet. To be fair, the actor does his best to avoid associations with Lewis as Dr Jack Kerruish in Central's new eight-parter, PEAK PRACTICE (8.30pm ITV). He has a decidedly non-police regulation Led Zep hairdo, he shouts at people, and he is a ladies' man of almost Barry White proportions.

In Lucy Gannon's feature- length opener, Kerruish returns from setting up a clinic in Africa to join an ailing practice in the Peak District run by the compassionate Dr Beth Glover (Amanda Burton). The partnership is under threat from a new entrepreneurial health centre that has just opened down the road, where the go-get-'em doctors say things like 'That'll make our per capita payments look a bit healthier'. The idealistic Kerruish stands up for NHS values, throws his weight around and gets punched in the pub, but he is soon settling into the dual role of the Peak District's Claire Rayner and Clark Gable. Routine, but better than A Year in Provence.

(Photograph omitted)