Prime-time ITV is a turn off for writer McGovern

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The Independent Online

Prime-time ITV1 drama has been dismissed as "crap" by one of the industry's most respected writers.

Jimmy McGovern, creator of ITV's Cracker, said he wouldn't watch the network at 9pm because he assumed that nothing scheduled would be worth watching. "If I see anything on at ITV at 9pm, I don't turn on because I know it is going to be crap," he said, at the launch of his new drama, The Street, made by ITV productions for BBC1. "It wouldn't be on ITV at that time if it was any good."

Mr McGovern is currently working on a revival of Cracker. An ITV spokesperson said: "Jimmy is obviously entitled to his own views but we assume he is excluding the fantastic new Cracker he has written for ITV1 that will be coming up in that slot in the autumn."

Robert Hanks, The Independent's radio critic, said: " I don't bother watching ITV prime-time anymore, unless it is for professional purposes. "McGovern is speaking from a position of strength. A couple of years ago, ITV showed Andrew Davies' retelling of Othello which pushed the boundaries a bit, but their staple diet has nothing exciting."

Mr McGovern was behindHillsborough, the 1996 dramatisation of the Liverpool-Nottingham Forest football disaster in 1989, and Sunday, which dealt with the Bloody Sunday massacre in 1972.

The Street is set in the north of England, with each episode concentrating on a different house in the same road. In the opening episode, Jane Horrocks plays Angela Quinn, a mother of three who embarks on an affair with a neighbour after her marriage to builder Arthur, played by Daniel Ryan, grows stale.

Earlier this week, ITV revealed that advertising revenue on the channel fell by £50m last year, as figures showed that its audience share has dropped eight per cent in 2006. But the loss of revenue from ITV1 was offset by the success of new digital services, ITV2, 3 and 4 and Men and Motors.

Chief executive Charles Allen said: "We have transformed ITV from an analogue, single channel federation to a multi-channel, multi-platform, content driven business, firmly focused on the needs of viewers and advertisers."

Prime time?

Programmes Jimmy McGovern will not be watching on ITV1 next week at 9pm

* MIDSOMER MURDERS, TOMORROW

Murder-mystery starring John Nettles and Jason Hughes as a duo investigating the shooting of a council clerk. Last episode of current series.

* A GOOD MURDER, MONDAY AND TUESDAY

A two-part drama of a thirty-something singleton living in London with her overbearing disabled mother. She meets an illegal Albanian immigrant on the run from Russian gangsters.

* BRITAIN'S OLDEST MUMS AND DADS, WEDNESDAY

The difficulties faced by older parents before and after the birth of their children. Includes interviews with a man who was 71 when his son was born, and a woman who had twins at the age of 51

* FOOTBALLER'S WIVES, THURSDAY

Special edition of the tabloid favourite, starring TV presenters Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. The series is a volatile mixture of sex, wealth, affairs, revenge and gossip.

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