Student

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

TELEVISION / Inside Eye

Ian Stephen, forensic clinical psychologist, on advising on Cracker (ITV 9pm): 'My advice was to Robbie (Coltrane) himself. Robbie couldn't get into my skin because I'm a wee bit thinner than him, but I was giving a reality base for him to develop his fictional personality and on screen I can feel a bit of myself integrated into the role.

TELEVISION / Armani Martians, go home

I WAS waiting for the news on Monday when something weird appeared on screen. Circles of supernatural light were playing over Television Centre. A voice said the BBC was being invaded by 'a hostile and mysterious race of Martians whose agents take on human form'. Human form? Hello, could we be talking about someone with a helmet of blond hair, Eighties specs and a neat line in tax- deductible suits? 'It is a force with terrible powers beyond the comprehension of man.' Yes, that's him.

ITV aims for viewers with spending power

ITV is going up-market to seek out a younger and wealthier audience, Marcus Plantin, its central scheduler, said yesterday, writes Michael Leapman.

Letter: Huge personality

I FEEL I have to write after reading William Leith's 'profile' of the actor Robbie Coltrane 'A big star, but shrinking' (Review, 16 May).

A big star, but shrinking: For a while, Robbie Coltrane put on a stone a year. The comedy and the fat seemed inseparable. Now he's got a new wife, baby, house, diet, are we going to see the emergence of a sensitive soul?

ROBBIE COLTRANE, a little under 20 stone, delicately shuffles up the stairs and into the Bafta cinema in Piccadilly. He's been dieting. From a distance of 15 feet, he looks fat, hugely fat, but there's something about his fatness that's not horrible - he's strangely shapely, as if he's supposed to look like this - supposed, for instance, to have this vast, rippling face, to have this belly which looks, not like a piece of surplus flesh, but something integral. His head looks perched on top of the rest of him; his fingers are very long, very thick, and covered in motor oil. He's flown down from Scotland, but not before digging around the engine of a 1950s car; you wonder if he's left his hands this dirty to create a conversation-piece. He wears: a black suit with narrow lapels, white shirt, jazzy tie, leopardette brothel-creepers.

TELEVISION / A fat lot of good

40 MINUTES (BBC 2) went to Japan to support our national team in that most British of sports - Sumo wrestling. Steve, George and Terry had already enjoyed a cushioned ride through the qualifying competition in London. Only three wrestlers were set to go on from there to represent Britain in the Tokyo finals. But only Steve, George and Terry had turned up. So the winners had been Steve, George and Terry. That's how big British Sumo is these days.

TELEVISION / Briefing: Banger across the badlands

Robbie Coltrane has been dreaming of this since the age of six - the chance to buy a vintage Cadillac and drive it across America (and, no doubt, get paid handsomely in the process). If the first episode of Meridian's COLTRANE IN A CADILLAC (8.30pm ITV) is anything to go by, his enthusiasm has not dulled his wit. In the warehouse of his dreams - filled with the world's largest private collection of vintage Caddies - he strikes up a rousing chorus of 'I'm in Heaven'. Driving around Hollywood like a child with a new toy, he calls out to random passers- by: 'George, loved the picture', 'Maurice, get outta this town'. As he follows the example of the past master in arcane Americana, Jonathan Ross, he bumps into local eccentrics at every steet corner. After leaving Las Vegas, 'the capital of polyester decadence', considerably out of pocket and crossing the badlands of Utah, he ends by predicting the reaction of the 'quality press': 'Whilst it might be some people's idea of ideal television to watch the rather enormous Mr Coltrane driving an old banger across the salt flats, I found myself getting up to make a cup of tea after only 10 minutes'. Well, I didn't.

Meridian achieves orderly takeover in harsh climate

'The hills took over on the south,

TELEVISION / Tooth will out

THE Vampyr (BBC 2) had one of those credit sequences favoured by American mini-series in which, while the title music plays, each actor gets a little burst of action, then a cheesy freeze-frame. The point of these normally is to reveal to the audience how the cast members look when acting and how they look when frozen, a distinction not necessarily made clear in the drama that follows. And, ahead of 25 minutes in which people would chiefly stand around singing, they were to offer a useful guideline here, too.

Commentary: Soft soap in a hard sell

The rubber gloves have come off in a market-share battle for Britain's washing-up liquids. The opposing sides, Procter & Gamble and Unilever's Lever Brothers, are old enemies. Between them they own most of the world's leading names in detergents and their feud will probably last as long as Captain Kirk's with the Klingons. But the latest bout of skirmishing has broken out over Britain's kitchen sinks.
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