Television & Radio: On the Box

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The Independent Online
Telly has gone awards crazy. Next Wednesday sees the second National Television Awards on ITV. Hosted by Trevor McDonald and broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall, this would-be rival to the Baftas features such intriguing nominations as Ross Kemp, right, (that's Grant Mitchell from EastEnders to you and me) for Best Actor, Des O'Connor Tonight for Best Talk Show and The Big Breakfast for Best Factual Entertainment. Then next month the BBC is transmitting its TV60 Awards to mark its 60th year of existence, and in December it's time for the British Comedy Awards again. But perhaps the most unusual awards ceremony of all is on the Disney Channel tomorrow week. On that day, the ubiquitous awards host Jonathan Ross will be presenting the 1996 Teacher of the Year Awards. An overall winner will be selected from 12 Regional Teachers of the Year. What next? The Award Ceremony of the Year Award?

This week sees the escalation of another worrying trend: TV stars branching out into singing. Following in the lucrative steps of Robson and Jerome and Ant and Dec, Emmerdale actors Billy Hartman, Alun Lewis and Steve Halliwell (who play Terry Woods, Vic Windsor and Zak Dingle respectively) are forming The Woolpackers and releasing a double A-sided single of "Hillbilly Rock Hillbilly Roll"/ "Linedancing" on 4 Novemeber. They are already booked to perform on The National Lottery Live. They make their debut appearance in the soap at the Glovers' Silver Wedding Anniversary next Thursday - an evening perhaps to consider re-grouting the bathroom.

An indication of just how much the BBC will miss the Grand Prix coverage it has lost to ITV from next season was provided by the viewing figures for the week ending 8 September. Revving smoothly to the top of BBC2's chart that week was the Italian Grand Prix, which motored in with 5.10m viewers.