RAC jumps to aid of train

BRITISH RAIL knew just what to do when one of its trains broke down - it called out the RAC.

Why Jim Lees is a very merrie man: After 40 years' work, he's cracked it: Chris Arnot meets a Robin Hood expert who is sure he knows the real name behind the legend

The man dubbed 'the world's foremost authority on Robin Hood' by CBS Television pushed his zimmer frame into the living room. Jim Lees has been pursuing the legendary outlaw with obsessive zeal for 40 years. At the age of 82, he has finally pinned him down: to his own satisfaction, at least.

Casualty: a suitable case for treatment?

'The most sick being treated by the most thick' was the mordant description of the average casualty ward offered by one doctor in QED (BBC 1). But Staffordshire Royal Infirmary doesn't have an average casualty ward. In their trauma unit they have a consultant on hand 24 hours a day - a departure from medical protocol, which requires that at least three consultants be in constant attendance at the nearest golf course. The idea that the most experienced doctors should treat the most urgent cases is only an experiment, though. The money runs out in a year's time and, this being an indubitable improvement in the care offered by the NHS, it seems unlikely that Mrs Bottomley will do anything to preserve it. It may not be long before mangled casualties are again being welcomed by a sleepy houseman who needs a map to find a pulse point.

Long Runners: No 5: Casualty

Age: Seven. First broadcast September 1986; 100th episode was in February.

THEATRE / Vita, Virginia, Dylan and me: Eileen Atkins, Penelope Wilton and Bob Kingdom are professional charlatans. They confess to Georgina Brown

Casting agents first swooped on Eileen Atkins as the actor to play Virginia Woolf over 30 years ago. 'I should be so lucky that I should look like her - but it's nothing to do with bones or eyes. What I think people see in me is someone who might put stones in her pockets.'

Departures: As seen on TV

IF YOU are longing to know where television series such as Only Fools and Horses, Peak Practice or Lady Chatterley were filmed, the answer can be found in the British Television Location Guide (Seaspite Publishing, pounds 5.99). The book has details of more than 50 locations, including new programmes and old series such as Dr Finlay's Casebook and Poldark. It can be ordered by credit card (0705 755560) or direct from Seaspite Publishing, 58-60 St James's Road, Southsea, Hampshire PO5 4HY.

Letter: A cliche in a belted raincoat

IN 'The strange case of the vacant chair' (Review, 1 August) James Rampton sets out to illustrate how the rival detectives have borrowed from Morse. It is suggested that Michael Gambon's Maigret was a Morse clone, 'the moody middle-aged malcontent' (not forgetting, of course, the belted raincoat). In fact, Gambon's performance was highly reminiscent of the earlier TV occupant of the role, Rupert Davies, 20-odd years before John Thaw had ever heard of Morse. The article also suggests similarities between Thaw's character and a young, blonde, female detective: 'she drives a classic car, is a workaholic and has a confused personal life'. John Steed drove a classic Bentley in The Avengers 25 years ago] Z-Cars' John Watt had a confused personal life because of his workaholism. In fact, so did Sherlock Holmes. Irascibility - has Mr Rampton ever heard of Charlie Barlow, or Hercule Poirot? One reason for Morse's success was that he was an amalgam of so many of the detective cliches established by his predecessors.

TELEVISION / The strange case of the vacant chair: Inspector Morse, the nation's No 1 crime-fighter, has gone to the great police station in the sky. But who will replace him? James Rampton joins in the hunt for a serial thriller

THE CAMERA pans across the executive dining-room of a booming ITV company. It alights on a drama producer who is complaining animatedly about his commissioning editor: 'Morse, Morse, Morse, that's all I ever hear. 'Can you make it more like Morse?' '

Law Update: Peak practice

Rodger Pannone, who becomes President of the Law Society next month, is backing four climbers on a sponsored climb of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. Donations will go to the Spinal Injuries Association and Headway, a charity for people with serious brain injuries.

TELEVISION / The cop out: John Lyttle takes the pulse of Heartbeat and Divine Inspiration

HEARTBEAT (ITV, Sunday) may be strong in the ratings but it barely registers a dramatic pulse. The opening credits speak volumes: fair cop Nick Berry looks glum against archive of constables containing a demonstration. Niamh Cusack strikes a worried pose over a shot of a 'London Hospital'. Whoosh. Countryside backdrops shimmer. Nick smiles. Niamh smiles. The sheep smile. Rural bliss.

TELEVISION / All they want is a second chance: A good script, great actors and a director to die for are no guarantees of a follow-up series. After all, they gave Trainer a second run. Sabine Durrant reports

THE MAKING of Lovejoy is a story of vehemence rewarded. Everyone believed in it. Then everyone fell out. The first series in 1986 received lowish ratings and muted critical attention, but negotiations were already in hand for a second. Then the storm broke. 'It was about money,' says Allan McKeown, who produced it, 'we wanted to make it with the same money as the first series; the BBC wanted to give us less. I had Ian McShane on the phone every day, everyone was shouting. In the end Michael Grade and I weren't on speaking terms. The project was scrapped.' But McKeown waited, determined to keep the idea, which he 'always knew had legs', in the running. Four years later, the day Jonathan Powell took over as controller of BBC 1, McKeown descended. 'I was the first guy there,' he says, 'I was helping him in with his boxes.'

'Casualty' complaints upheld

(First Edition)

Christ the subversive puts an end to mockery

AND THOSE who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying: 'Aha] You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God come down from the cross.'

Television and the Young: Prime Minister flunks the couch potato test: Tom Sutcliffe, Arts Editor, offers a personal view in the debate

WE SHOULD, I suppose, be grateful that the Prime Minister doesn't watch much television - he has more important things to worry about than whether he is going to be home in time for Noel's House Party.

'Casualty' move

The BBC has bowed to audience pressure and decided to move next Saturday's episode of Casualty, its most popular drama series, from 7.50pm to 9.30pm. The decision was made by Alan Yentob, acting controller of BBC1, because of the programme's graphic depiction of riot scenes.
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