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“THE Halcyon gripped me straight away.

“Setting the story within this high-class hotel and also against the backdrop of the Second World War gives you such a huge scope for drama and for what’s to come.”

Steven Mackintosh talking to me about new eight-part drama The Halcyon.

Starting on ITV at 9pm next Monday (January 2).

He plays hotel manager Richard Garland as the series opens in 1940.

Before a return to 1939.

With World War Two and the Blitz soon to impact on London and this five star West End hotel.

As you might imagine, I’ve been on quite a few film and TV sets over the last 35 years.

But the one for The Halcyon – created by production designer Matt Gant – took my breath away.

Let’s just say no-one held back on the budget.

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“A lot of people in Scotland know about Peter Manuel.

“But I don’t think many people of my age would be aware of the depth of his crimes.

“It was really shocking when I started looking into it.”

Line of Duty star Martin Compston talking to me about his role as killer Peter Manuel in new three part drama In Plain Sight.

Starting on ITV at 9pm next Wednesday (Dec 7).

It tells the story of police detective William Muncie’s quest to bring Manuel to justice.

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“SHE is always chasing the dream in her head.

“Chasing a fairy tale throughout her whole life.”

Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt talking to me about her new screen role as Mary Ann Cotton in Dark Angel.

A 2 x 90 minute drama written by Gwyneth Hughes starting on ITV at 9pm next Monday (Oct 31).

Also coming to MASTERPIECE on PBS in 2017.

Telling the true story of the woman dubbed Britain’s first female serial killer.

With Alun Armstrong as Mary Ann’s father George and Jonas Armstrong as her lover Joe Nattrass.

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“IT was one of the most unique television scripts I’d read.”

Katherine Kelly talking to me about HIM, a three-part drama starting on ITV at 9pm this Wednesday (Oct 19).

The script in question was written by award-winning Paula Milne.

A “domestic horror” starring Fionn Whitehead as HIM, the teenager with no name.

Trying to find his way in life while fighting demons within.

As you would expect from Paula, it’s a really intelligent story about, among other things, all of our sons.

With some striking scenes, including one that required the closure of the A40 west of London.

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“IT really is an astonishing story. An incredible adventure. Pure and simple.

A story of discovery and imagination…”

Max Irons talking to me about his role as archeologist Howard Carter in Tutankhamun (ITV, 9pm, Sunday October 16).

The four part series does, indeed, tell an astonishing story.

With Sam Neill as Lord Carnarvon, the man with the money – and patience – behind this real life quest.

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“IT’S not really a world I know much about.

“I’m a poncey little actor.”

Philip Glenister talking to me about his role in new six-part thriller The Level.

Which begins on ITV at 9pm this Friday (Sept 30).

Phil plays haulage boss Frank Le Saux in a tale with more than a few twists on the road ahead.

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“YOU start thinking, ‘Is this going to be about small town cops investigating a brutal murder?

‘Or is it going to be something more than that?’

“And it turns out to be something far more than that.”

Robert Glenister talking to me about new eight-part ITV drama Paranoid, made by the Red Production Company.

A truly gripping story filmed in Cheshire and Germany starting at 9pm this Thursday (Sept 22).

Starring Robert as veteran cop Bobby Day, Indira Varma and Dino Fetscher as police colleagues Nina Suresh and Alec Wayfield, Neil Stuke as their boss Michael Niles and Lesley Sharp as murder eyewitness Lucy Cannonbury.

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“I aspire to make people laugh out loud and a tear to form in their eye.

“I feel we’ve achieved that.”

Cold Feet creator and writer Mike Bullen talking to me earlier this year about the return of the much loved ITV series.

Finally arriving back on screen at 9pm on Monday (Sept 5).

I can still recall the buzz in the room after the screening of the first episode of series one at the London launch of Cold Feet in 1998, some 18 months after the pilot was broadcast.

Interviewing the cast then it was clear they and Mike had created something very special indeed. A fresh, original, surprising series with – as in life – moments of comedy and drama entwined.

A CPL production for ITV.Pictured: This image is the copyright of ITV and must only be used in relation to Brief Encounters.

“IT was extraordinary.

“All the men in the crew went very quiet.”

Penelope Wilton talking to me about glorious new ITV drama Brief Encounters.

Starting in 1982, the six-part series begins at 9pm next Monday (July 4) and is just the tonic we need after the turmoil of recent times.

Sophie Rundle (Steph), Angela Griffin (Nita), Sharon Rooney (Dawn) and Penelope (Pauline) give compelling performances in this Sheffield filmed and set production.

Four women linked by the emergence of Ann Summers’ party planning, providing hope, confidence, ambition and a chance of independence.

As well as its fair share of laughter and tears along the way at a time when attitudes to women and sex were very different to today.

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“AUDIENCES don’t like to be treated as if they’re stupid.

“Sometimes I think we dumb things down and underestimate the intelligence of an audience.

“We’re not stupid. We don’t need it hammered into our head.

“We want to work a little bit.

“And I think this asks that of the audience.”

Anna Friel talking to me on location in Paddington about Marcella (ITV, 9pm, Monday April 4).

A truly outstanding eight-part drama filmed and set in London written by The Bridge’s Hans Rosenfeldt.

With one of the most gripping scripts I’ve ever read.