Television & Radio: On the box

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The Independent Online
The recent repeats of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? reminded us of the marvellously comic lugubriousness of James Bolam (right). No doubt it will be on show again in The Missing Postman, a new two-part drama for BBC1 which starts filming this month. Mark Wallington's screenplay casts Bolam as Clive Peacock, a postman who refuses to take early retirement and resolves to give his employers what-for by hand-delivering his last collection. The police chase him up and down the country as he cycles around in imitation of the Pony Express. The media latches onto the story and dubs him "the people's postman". Postmen just can't keep out of the news at the moment.

Bolam also crops up in the supporting cast of Have Your Cake, a four- part drama "about modern marriage". Due for transmission on BBC1 early next year, Rob Heyland's (Between the Lines) script asks if monogamy is possible. Shot in Spain and London, it centres on a man (Miles Anderson) who divides his time between his wife (Sinead Cusack) and his mistress (Holly Aird). Sounds like every MP's dream arrangement.

Can you imagine a more unlikely cowboy than Victor Meldrew? In Way Out West, one of the most intriguing programmes in the recently-announced BBC autumn schedules, the One Foot in the Grave character's alter ego, Richard Wilson, dons the chaps and the stetson to learn how to become an authentic tobacco-spitting, ye-hawing cowpoke. In an eerie echo of the film City Slickers, Wilson, a keen horseman, takes lessons in cowboy etiquette from a Jack Palance lookalike who goes by the name of Melvin David. It culminates in Wilson leading his very own cattle drive, shepherding 600 steers and heifers across the open plains of Wyoming, known as the Cowboy State. Next week: Hyacinth Bucket goes bungee-jumping.