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Hogwarts or hotel standards? Jim Kelly discovers why boarding schools are fashionable again

Theatre Review: Rambling through the past's muddy fields

I Am Yours Royal Court

Why Cracker sank over the Atlantic

Tonight British audiences can see `Fitz', the made-for America version of `Cracker'. It was hailed as a triumph for Granada - but the series was pulled mid-run in the US. Rob Brown reveals why.

False memory ends sex assault case

A sex assault prosecution was dropped yesterday after experts advised that the alleged victim could be suffering from False Memory Syndrome, partly triggered by storylines in the television series Brookside and Cracker.

The Coltrane sideshow

For Robbie Coltrane's tough shrink they stand for hours and eat mud. Jim White mingles with extras on the set of 'Cracker'

ITV admits defeat in the battle over 'Cracker'

MATHEW HORSMAN

The man who raped Sheila Grant

`I'm not particularly fascist or racist or homophobic, you know - I try to lead a good life'

`Cracker' censured for 9pm sex scene

Cracker, the popular ITV drama series starring Robbie Coltrane and made by Granada Television, was censured by the Independent Television Commission yesterday for starting an episode at 9pm with a scene of sexual intercourse.

TELEVISION / What a sight - not an insight

YOU ARE having a nightmare. Your Auntie Elsie, never previously seen beyond Belper, has strayed into New York fashion week. She has that squiffy sherry look and has just buttonholed one of the world's top designers. He is lightly tanned, succulent with success: he gives Auntie a get-this-woman-outta-here smile. You rush forward to plead with her to take off the ginger wig and come home. But your nose hits the TV screen. This is not a nightmare. Well, it is; but not one starring your aunt.

TELEVISION REVIEW / An arresting lesson in dramatic finesse

THE MOST familiar writers' gripe at the moment is that if you're going to arrest the attention of a commissioning editor you have to call in a policeman to do it. Like all gripes, it's an exaggeration, but this is a bad week to try and refute it, a week which has offered three police dramas in as many days. The gripe also assumes, as a given, that genre fiction puts handcuffs on the imagination of the writer. With Wycliffe, Wexford and A Touch of Frost fresh in the mind you wouldn't hastily deny that, but again, it's a bad week for the theory. As Jimmy McGovern proved with Cracker (ITV), and J C Wilsher with Between the Lines (BBC 1), it isn't the genre that matters so much as what you do with it. Now both series are back on our screens again.

TELEVISION / 'E's a lovely lad, that Bob

FOR 'an epic story of love and ambition', Seaforth (BBC1) has a mundane sort of title. It sounds like a reconditioned Onedin Line, or that form at school into which they lump the boys who spend geometry lessons tattooing themselves with a compass: C Fourth. Nowadays, Bob Longman (Linus Roache) would be just another C Fourth yob. But we are in the 1940s and he is the Bad Boy of Seaforth Town. Mind you, 'e's 'ad it rooff: dad dead, mam on the sauce, bairns coughin' and no chance of a quiet fag on the lav without t'Army sending in recruitin' posse. One night (they don't stretch to much daylight in these parts), this artful draft-dodger breaks into a posh house and is gnawing on a ham when he is caught by Paula, the virtuous maid (Lia Williams). As she remonstrates with him, a bomb drops in and the villain of the piece becomes the hero of the hour, snatching Paula from the flames but cruelly condemning her to a lifetime licked by the hot tongues of passion. No use raising an eyebrow, never mind an objection. Those whom the entire annual budget of the Special Effects Department hath thrown together, let no joyless critic put asunder.
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