NOT long to wait now for Michael Palin’s new TV series.
Michael Palin’s New Europe begins on BBC1 at 9pm a week on Sunday.
I’ll be spending part of this coming weekend watching preview DVDs of his latest journey.
There’ll be a feature in next week’s MEN.
He’s also booked to chat about the series when Parkinson returns to ITV1 a week tomorrow.
Michael says there were many highlights during his latest trip.
One – in northern Romania – brought back memories of Monty Python’s classic Lumberjack Song.
“On Mondays, these Romanian lumberjacks go up the valley and chop trees up there.
“We filmed on the train that takes them up on Monday morning.


THERE’S a dramatic autumn and winter ahead in Coronation Street.
I was at ITV Network Centre in London yesterday to talk to Jack P Shepherd (David Platt) and Helen Worth (Gail Platt).
On the morning after Corrie picked up four more awards, executive producer Kieran Roberts was also there to chat about future highlights.
In episodes to be screened on September 17 and 19, wild child David almost kills niece Bethany, aged seven, when he hides ecstasy tablets in her doll.
After finding them and taking one, the little girl starts to fit and is rushed unconscious to hospital where she begins a fight for life.
In scenes filmed at the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Bethany faces possible brain injury or even death.
Tearaway teen David is then arrested and warned by police that he could be charged with manslaughter.


DOC Martin star Martin Clunes plans to take a break from acting.
He made the announcement at a press launch this afternoon for a new series of the award-winning ITV1 series.
Having filmed some nine hours of drama this year, Martin told us it was time for him to retreat to the other side of the camera.
“I’m always worrying whether people will get sick of me,” he confessed.
“I’m not sick of myself but I’d hate to be in that position because I do love what I do.”
The former man behaving badly returns later this month in seven new episodes of the Cornish comedy drama.
Martin, who plays grumpy Dr Martin Ellingham, said Doc Martin would also be rested next year.


DO you think they’re doing it on purpose to wind us all up?
Trudy and her lights now appear to be a permanent fixture ahead of every episode of Coronation Street.
She was there again last night, complete with the annoying shouting director.
With Cadbury’s sponsorship of Corrie due to end in October, perhaps someone thinks constantly running the “Trudy lights!” ident is funny.
Well, it’s not.
Does no-one at ITV care about irritating millions of viewers?
Or having taken the sponsorship cash, do they not have a say?


IT was just after 5am on a summer Sunday morning when the phone rang.
The voice on the other end told me that Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed had died in a Paris car crash.
My first sleepy reaction was one of disbelief.
The second was to get on with covering one of the biggest stories in our lifetime.
I’d been lucky enough to be the MEN’s lead reporter inside St Paul’s Cathedral for the wedding of Charles and Diana in 1981.
Now I was about to fulfil the same role at Diana’s Westminster Abbey funeral.
Over the following days I witnessed first hand the nation’s grief at both Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace.
I also visited the Abbey as preparations began for a unique funeral.


YOU could call it Big Brother with an actual point.
Or simply a load of old rubbish.
Watch out for Dumped when it begins on Channel 4 on September 4.
It features 11 people spending three weeks living on a rubbish dump to highlight the mountain of waste material we needlessly throw away.
Filmed in June, it highlights the fact that every year we chuck out an average of half a tonne of rubbish each, with just a quarter being recycled.
That places the UK in the bottom three European nations for recycling, with the Dutch and Germans recycling more than twice as much.
It’s a timely series, screened over four consecutive nights as part of C4’s Green Week.


IS Antony Cotton the answer to ITV1’s teatime prayers?
The Corrie star made a strong start last Monday and Tuesday with 2m viewers each day.
But the jury is still out on Manchester-based That Antony Cotton Show.
By Wednesday the audience was down to 1.5m – and that’s how many were watching Friday’s edition.
Trade magazine Broadcast pointed out that both Sharon Osbourne and Richard Hammond had similar initial high ratings in the tricky 5pm slot.
Both series lost viewers and tailed off.
Several critics have been quick to dismiss Antony’s chances of long term teatime success.
Still, who takes any notice of critics?