2007: Year of the comeback

A new series of 'This Life'. The Police to reform. Harrison Ford to don his Indiana hat once more. Ian Herbert and Elisa Bray look at 10 revivals that are set to entertain us this year
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The Independent Online

This Life

Who? Group of young lawyers whose colourful lives illuminated British television in the 1990s. Back after 10 years for a one-off episode tomorrow.

Where have they been? Mixed fortunes for those squabbling, fornicating, intoxicated lawyers who shared a house for two series in 1996 and 1997. Andrew Lincoln ("Egg") has been most high profile, as Simon Casey in Teachers and with TV roles in Afterglow and The Canterbury Tales. Jack Davenport (Miles) has global recognition as naval officer Norrington in Pirates of the Caribbean. Amita Dhiri (Milly) has had two children and several TV drama roles. Fleeting TV drama success, too, for Daniela Nardino (Anna) and Jason Hughes (Warren).

Comeback? Outstanding! as Warren said in the final series' closing word. When Tony Garnett, the producer, decided to resurrect it in 2005, the cast jumped at the chance.

Can they pull it off? A mighty challenge. The series tapped into the zeitgeist of its time and reflected the lives of thousands of young twentysomethings. Time's moved on.

Cracker

Who? Abrasive, hard-drinking, chain-smoking criminal psychologist played by Robbie Coltrane. Back on our screens for the first series in more than a decade.

Where's he been? Coltrane moved on from Edward 'Fitz' Fitzgerald in 1996. The role was a stepping stone to bigger roles, such as in the Bond movie The World Is Not Enough (1999) and as the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter films. Not so great for Fitz, a 16-part US version of Cracker flopped in the US.

Comeback? Writer Jimmy McGovern branded ITV's evening dramas "crap" when announcing his decision to bring Fitz back after 10 years. The comeback might have come earlier had it not been for Coltrane's hectic schedule.

Can he pull it off? Yes. Last year's one-off special wasn't the greatest ever but it beat the BBC's Jane Eyre hands down in the ratings. And amid all those hours of slick CSI action, it's good to see a lardy, foul-mouthed Glaswegian back in business.

Severiano Ballesteros

Who? One of the most elegant - and successful - swingers of a golf club in the modern game. Back on tour after three years.

Where's he been? Watching Seve has been almost unbearable over the past 10 years. The last of his 89 victories - three of them Open titles - was the Spanish Open, way back in 1995. Since then, he has slumped horribly. The 1996 Masters was the last time he made a halfway cut in any major.

Comeback? Rounds of 74 and 77 in a one-off appearance at the Open at Hoylake in July prompted him to rethink retirement. "I will be happy to see all my friends and look forward to having a lot of fun reconnecting with the fans on the Champions Tour," he says.

Can he pull it off? You can hope, but don't hold your breath. He tried a mini-comeback at the Madrid Open in October 2005 but finished last but one, then he tried the French Open for another one-off. Back-to-back rounds of 81 left him in last place on 20 over par. Ouch!

Archie Andrews

Who? Ventriloquist's dummy, back on stage after 40 years.

Where's he been? Out of the limelight. Archie, who rose to fame with the late Peter Brough on the Educating Archie radio show and seemed to be on every variety show going, has been packed in a suitcase since he fell out of favour.

Comeback? Things started to pick up for Archie, remembered by most for his elegant blazer, when an enthusiast from East Sussex paid £34,000 for him at auction in November 2005 and vowed to put him back on stage. He spent months looking for the right ventriloquist and is confident he has found his man - Steve Hewlett, who has spent months perfecting his falsetto voice.

Can he pull it off? There's a long way to go yet. Hewlett will bring him on for a "guest appearance" during his ventriloquist's act at the Pavilion Theatre on Cromer Pier, Norfolk - a far cry from his heyday when the twice-weekly radio show attracted a combined audience of more than 16 million.

Jade Goody

Who? The 25-year-old went from intellectually-challenged dental nurse from Bermondsey to millionaire Ferrari-owning television star after being a contestant on Channel 4's third series of Big Brother in 2002.

Where's she been? Since her first stint on television, Goody has made an estimated £4.9m. She has appeared in Celebrity Wife Swap, won Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, launched her own perfume and published her autobiography. She will make her acting debut in a feature-length version of the comedian Catherine Tate's show and has her own programme Jade's PA on Living TV.

Comeback? The full-time mother is returning to the Big Brother household, but this time as a celebrity in the fifth series of Celebrity Big Brother starting tomorrow.

Can she pull it off? She is mouthy, likes to drink and came fourth in the 100 Worst Britons poll by Channel 4, but her entertaining on-screen antics and down-to-earth personality set her up as a promising candidate in the Big Brother household of celebrity egos.

Indiana Jones

Who? Harrison Ford back as the swashbuckling hero, last seen in 1989, for a fourth film.

Where's he been? Ford's output has been eyewatering since he last played Indiana on the big screen. Dr Richard Kimble in Andrew Davis's The Fugitive, Jack Ryan in Philip Noyce's Patriot Games and Rusty Sabich in Alan Pakula's Presumed Innocent are just three of his major leading roles.

Comeback? Indiana co-creator George Lucas has confirmed Ford, now 64, will return in a script finalised with Steven Spielberg. "It's going to be the best one yet," he promises. Lucas says the film will be a "character piece" with "interesting mysteries". Ford, who performed many of his own stunts for the trilogy, is said to be "fit to continue" the all-action role. Filming should start this month.

Can he pull it off? Doesn't he always? The trilogy made £560m at the box office in the Eighties and rumours of a fourth have circulated for years.

Rocky

Who? Sylvester Stallone in his defining role, as the indestructible - and now pensionable - boxer. Back after 16 years for a sixth film.

Where's he been? Stallone has found himself on the canvas more often that he might have hoped. His last success was Cliffhanger in 1993. Some say viewers no longer crave the "action stars" of the 1980s. Others point to a string of ill-advised movies, including several questionable attempts at comedy. The title of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot says it all.

Comeback? In Rocky Balboa, which opens in the UK on 19 January, the boxer returns to the ring with the intention of taking on some low-profile fighters. Like its predecessors, the film stars Stallone and is written, produced and directed by him.

Can he pull it off? It sounds mighty improbable, but yes. Sequels have a habit of making money and on its opening night in the US, the film brought in £3.3m at the box office. It is estimated that the film will recoup its production costs after the first week.

The Police

Who? Hugely successful Eighties outfit formed by singer and bassist Sting and drummer Stewart Copeland in 1977, and later joined by guitarist Andy Summers. The multi-Grammy Award winners' first single "Roxanne" was followed by chart-topping hits including "Every Breath You Take" and "Message In A Bottle".

Where have they been? Since their last gig in 1984, all three band members have remained on the music scene. Sting has branched out to Elizabethan-inspired music, giving the lute a renaissance on his October album Songs From The Labyrinth when it hit number one in the UK classical chart.

Comeback? The band is said to be planning a tour to mark their 30th anniversary, coinciding with an anniversary release by the record label A&M in June.

Can they pull it off? It's not their first reunion. Sting, Copeland and Summers reunited in 2003 for The Police to be inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Whether the band members can handle the new eclectic influences remains to be seen.

Genesis

Who? Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks formed in 1967 (with Phil Collins joining in 1970) and the group developed from prog-rock to a more popular classic rock act over the 70s and 80s, culminating in their first number one album Duke in 1980. Frontman Gabriel shocked fans when he left in 1975. Collins took over as singer, and, a year after he left in 1996, Genesis disbanded.

Where have they been? All members went on to forge solo careers. Genesis sparked the successful careers of Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and Mike and the Mechanics.

Comeback? Yes - officially. Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks have announced this year's reunion tour, which marks their 40th anniversary. The Turn It On Again Tour will see them play at Twickenham and Old Trafford in July.

Can they pull it off? The original line-up reformed for a live performance once before in 1982. But the group will sorely miss the flamboyant stage presence of their original singer Peter Gabriel.

Paddington Bear

Who? Wearer of Britain's most famous duffle coat. Returns in the first book in five years by his creator Michael Bond.

Where's he been? The marmalade-munching bear has been busy causing trouble for housekeeper Mrs Bird and whiling away the hours with his old friend Mr Gruber in the intervening years but no adventures have seen their way to print since Paddington and the Grand Tour, in 2003.

Comeback? Publisher HarperCollins has been tight-lipped on detail but some sources suggest the 13th full-length book is due in the early part of this year, with a possible cookbook (expect a distinctly Peruvian flavour) to go with it.

Can he pull it off? It's hard to see Bond failing. The loveable bear is as appealing as ever. Next week, he will feature in a new set of Royal Mail stamps featuring the original illustrations by Peggy Fortnum taken from More About Paddington (1959). A charity eBay auction of Paddington memorabilia will accompany the stamps, including a piece of original artwork by Bob Alley.

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