Student

22-year-old adult James Ashford recently visited Harry Potter World on his own. This is his sorry tale

ITV to explain plan to move 'News at Ten'

The ITV companies have promised a formal letter of "explanation" to the Independent Television Commission in the row over the rescheduling of News at Ten next Monday.

And finally, ITV rebuked over the 'News at 10.15'

MATHEW HORSMAN

Dear Marcus Plantin

You have delayed the start of News at Ten to make room for Cracker. Good move. So how about dumping the programme's sensationalist news values while you're at it?

MEDIA: Psst! So you want a guaranteed ratings hit? Just call us

Television's new gurus of market research claim that success is a formula. Meg Carter wonders about, ahem, creativity

Opera: DAPHNE Garsington Opera, Oxford

If the sun comes out in summer, music, like food, can benefit greatly from the open air. If the acoustic is right, instrumental colours shine more brightly, rhythms gain added spring; even the elemental thrill of an evening breeze lifting the awning at a crucial moment can add to the experience. On Monday, nearly everything natural conspired to make Garsington Opera's new staging of Strauss's Daphne a success.

`Nobody sets out to be a star-maker'

French, Saunders, Sayle, Coltrane, Mayall: without Peter Richardson where would they be? James Rampton on a comedy kingmaker's return

The prime of Mr McKenzie

Jimmy McGovern drew on the passion and growing disillusionment of his o wn teaching days to write the TV series Hearts and Minds, writes Tom Sutcliffe. But how true to life is his drama? Below, Roger Perks, a headmaster in Birming ham, passes judge ment

`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 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.

Edinburgh Television Festival: Satellite shopping tipped to boom despite cool reception: Rhys Williams catches up with the gossip among the media luvvies at the Edinburgh festival

HOW KEEN are the British on shopping by satellite? Not very, judging by the experience of the QVC satellite shopping channel launched in Britain last autumn which is losing dollars 15m ( pounds 9.67m) a year. But Barry Diller, the chairman and chief executive of the American company, told journalists in Edinburgh that the British were no different to Americans and that QVC would eventually surpass catalogues, although it would not replace shops.

REVIEW / Simply take one hard-nosed copper. Stir

THERE'S a book to be written about television's current taste for the dysfunctional hero. It seems we like our policeman distressed, or at least that's what gets served up to us time after time - troubled men and women with abrasive manners; not fine enough to polish and smooth those they rub up against, either. In one sense they represent a resistance movement - people hiding from the forces of therapy and self-knowledge, keeping a fire burning for bad temper and old-fashioned despair. Certainly part of the spice of Cracker was the sense of Robbie Coltrane's character as an undercover agent, undermining the repair- shop mentality of bad psychiatry from within the profession.

FILM / Now is the winter of their discontent: Grumpy Old Men (12); The Adventures of Huck Finn (PG); Josh and SAM (12); Rookie of the Year (PG): A Business Affair (15); Look Who's Talking Now (12)

SEPTUAGENARIAN storming of the box-office is rare enough for us to raise a cheer even before Grumpy Old Men (12) starts. Starring Walter Matthau (73) and Jack Lemmon (a spring chicken of 69), it took dollars 70m in the US - a considerable feat in the culture of Culkin. But watching the film you understand why, since it too is about childhood - second childhood, and the infantilism of old age. Lemmon and Matthau play two miserable old codgers, neighbours in the Minnesota snow, who scrap and snarl in dependent enmity, with practical jokes and sour tirades. When Ann-Margret's merry widow moves in nearby, and improbably starts to flirt with the duo, she warms the frozen wasteland and stokes up the fires of jealousy.

Coltrane reported

The comic actor, Robbie Coltrane, 44, could face prosecution for possession of an offensive weapon after being reported for having a flick-knife in his belongings as he was about to catch an aircraft at Heathrow airport last month, police said.

OPERA / In the bag: Nick Kimberley on Covent Garden's Rigoletto and ETO's Boheme

Economy is not always opera's cardinal virtue, but Verdi's Rigoletto is so compressed you feel the lid might blow at any minute. Not a gesture is wasted, hardly a moment passes without some wondrous new melodic idea, yet the orchestra's every twitch and rustle increases the tension. Puccini's La Boheme, on the other hand, frets and fritters, uncertain whether it's a frolicsome tale of know-nothing Bohemians, or a tragedy of one woman's wasted life. The last 10 minutes render the previous 90 almost redundant.

Media: The old firm can still pull a cracker: Michael Leapman meets an in-house producer who gives independents a run for their money

When I arrived at her London house near Kew bridge, Sally Head, Granada Television's head of drama, was on the phone in the cluttered kitchen, reading from a long continuous fax that was curling round her calves. Although Cracker, Robbie Coltrane's hit series on ITV, was well into its stride, she and the producer, Gub Neal, were still settling details of the later episodes.
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
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