Surely there's more to life than `This Life'?

To look at the current crop of new plays, you'd think that all twentysomethings are interested in is Britpop and beer. But then again, what else are young playwrights to write about except their own inexperience?

From `This Life' to that betrayal

Tortured souls are becoming Ramon Tikaram's speciality. After playing Ferdy, the sexually confused Mexican despatch rider in the cult television series This Life, the 31- year-old actor has been cast as Judas Iscariot in the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Bending genders and genres

Victoria Radin is disappointed by a decadent diversion; Adele by Mary Flanagan, Bloomsbury, pounds 12.99

That's death for `This Life'

It has been likened to a British version of Friends. In fact it is more like Friends on drugs with hormones out of control.

The end of Life as we know it?

This Life, BBC 2's hit twenty-something drama, is likely to be without all five of its main characters next year because the BBC is dragging it feet about whether to commission a third series.

Miles away from This Life; Interview

Deborah Ross talks to JACK DAVENPORT

A hat of his time

Patrick Macnee, aka John Steed, quintessential Englishman, cult hero of `The Avengers', tells Leise Spencer about his lesbian mother, bowlers, brollies and the joy of being a one-part wonder

My life as a political airhead...

...is history. Democracy and all that: suddenly it all seems, well, exciting, says Amy Jenkins

Letter: `Avengers' facts

May I put the record straight. The title of The Avengers was not originally Police Surgeon: that was a different series. Ian Hendry played the lead in The Avengers for 26 episodes; the title was not changed because he was not available after the actors' strike. Honor Blackman never "played a man's part", and Dave Rogers's description of her "rather butch, heavy-handed" playing of Cathy Gale is an insult to her excellent talents (" `Avengers' girl ... was meant to be a man", 27 April).

'Avengers' girl Emma Peel was meant to be a man

She Was the sexiest woman on television: the female member of The Avengers, leather-clad, kinky-booted, and ever ready to land a knock- out blow. Now the secret behind bowler-hatted Steed's sidekicks Cathy Gale and Emma Peel can be revealed: the part was meant for a man.

Latter-day Saint

Val Kilmer is the third actor to play Simon Templar. How does he measure up? Is he himself saint or sinner?

A saintly writer

Starring ex-policeman Roger Moore in the post-Ivanhoe, pre-Persuaders phase of his television career, the Sixties series of The Saint, which ran for 78 episodes and six years, still occupies a fond niche in the hearts of many British viewers of a certain age. For us, the cheesy theme- music and opening graphics are the Proustian cue for a journey into a world where it is always Saturday or Sunday tea-time, where the villains have foreign accents and where our Rog's Greater-London charm and fit frame are sufficient to win the day. We can even covet the classic-car status of his once daringly new Volvo sports car. Satisfyingly, the current series of repeats on BBC2 on Saturdays - the return orchestrated by the release of the new movie - has been scheduled at an appropriately Saint- ish time so that we might hunker down with tea and scones to relive our childhood.

Talking about my generation

The innovative series 'This Life', written by young people, with young directors and a young crew to boot, is back for a second prime-time series. But are all twenty-something lawyers obsessed with sex and drugs? Nick Hasted asks the actors

TV: Watching The Detectives

Any new TV detective becomes the subject of an amusing parlour game for viewers: Spot the Quirk. John Nettles, who for 11 years and more than 90 episodes played Sergeant Jim Bergerac and has now been promoted to Chief Inspector in ITV's solid new cop show, Midsomer Murders, knows all about this game. "It's like birdwatching for ornithologists," he jokes. "`Whooo, there it is, he's got the car or the drink problem'."

BREAKING THE ICE

Actor JOHN THAW talks with James Rampton
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