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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