BBC dovetails plots as `Casualty' gives birth B`Casualty' spin- off hopes to lure loyal viewers

THERE ARE no new ideas in television it seems, only spin-offs. This month sees the start of Holby City, the latest in a long line of hospital dramas. But the way the BBC is using every trick in the book to ensure its success shows how far programme marketing techniques have come since the days of Dr Kildare.

Obituary: Lord Grade

FOR OVER 70 years Lew Grade was a leading figure in British show business. While still in his teens he had become a dancer specialising in the Charleston. Even when he was in his sixties he would enliven gatherings of television controllers by jumping on a table and giving a demonstration of his skills. In the 1930s he became an agent, and for two decades until the late 1970s was one of the handful of leading figures in British television, as managing director of Associated Television and inspirer of innumerable hit progammes and series. In his seventies he embarked on a final - and more chequered - career as a film producer.

Work, but not as we know it

Certain professions are used to seeing their work portrayed in TV dramas. But do they recognise themselves? asks Ashley Davies

'This Life' writer nets pounds 600,000 for debut novels

AMY JENKINS, the writer behind the hugely successful television drama series This Life, has this week been offered pounds 600,000 for the rights to publish her first two novels, in the final stages of a frenzied bidding war.

Guilty Pleasures: A flare for historical detail

Louise Levene loves the old television shows - for their interesting period costume, of course

Fashion: People in fashion - In love with de Lisi

If Debbie Lovejoy won't wear it, you won't find it in a Ben de Lisi collection. Annalisa Barbieri meets the muse of a great designer

Media: OK, so we don't always get it right

An army of consultants ensure accuracy in TV drama. Just as well. The public is hard to fool. By Meg Carter

Arts: Composer, producer, Avenger: just don't call him a polymath

Laurie Johnson's TV theme tunes are classics. So why has it taken 27 years for a serious piece to get its premiere?

Revealed: how Anna got a life after This Life

THE CULT drama series, This Life, may have gone for good from our television screens, but the central character of Anna, it turns out, is not dead.

Leading article: Unsolved mystery

Leading article: Unsolved mystery

Obituary: Edwin Astley

FOR A long time during the Sixties and early Seventies, hardly a night passed without the sound of a television theme tune written by Edwin Astley. From the trumpet fanfare heralding Robin Hood to the world- famous seven-note signature of The Saint, Astley's compositions conjure up an era of the best of television adventure series.

How to find life after the stars go out

The loss of a central character can seem like the death-knell for a drama series. But all need not be lost, says Rob Brown

Arts: Give Us A break Guv

What do Sick Boy from 'Trainspotting' and Kira from 'This Life' have in common with Baby Spice? They've all been in 'The Bill'. And they're far from the only ones

At last! Exclusive! What really killed off `This Life'. By the writer many blame

Mark Ravenhill, the gay playwright famous for `Shopping and Fucking' wrote the third series of `This Life'. When it was cancelled there were dark rumours that it was his fault. Not so, he tells David Benedict.

Culture: Gay sex story lines spell an uncertain future for This Life

The four million fans of This Life, the television cult sensation, face a further wait now that plans for a third series have ground to a halt. David Lister, Arts News Editor, reports that an attempt to inject more gay romance into scripts was pa rtly to blame. It topped BBC2's ratings and kept millions glued to the television. But it is understood that plans for a new series of This Life, the love and career traumas of a bunch of twentysomethings sharing a south London house, have gone on hold with no immediate prospect of production work beginning.
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links