TUT

“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.

The Level

“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.

©ITV Plc

“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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“I hope people find the stories engaging. I think they will.

“I’m quite good at not doing very much on screen.”

Rowan Atkinson talking to me in Budapest last November while working on two major new TV films.

Maigret (ITV, 9pm Easter Monday) marks his debut in the role of the original television detective who set the benchmark for all who followed.

Adapted from the books by legendary author Georges Simenon.

The casting of the Blackadder and Mr Bean star as Chief Inspector Jules Maigret made headlines around the world when it was first announced last year.

It was fascinating to watch his transformation into the French detective during filming in the Hungarian capital.

Doubling for Paris in the 1950s because it looks far more like that city at that time than modern Paris does today.

Darkness had fallen on location at a former Budapest brewery when shooting wrapped for the day.

The moment for me to interview Rowan in his trailer for the ITV press pack / production notes.

He did not disappoint.

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“EVERYONE has their time.”

Churchill’s Secret (ITV, 8pm this Sunday) is a classic.

One of those films you will remember for a very long time to come.

With some of the finest performances you could wish to see.

In an astonishing story about, perhaps, our greatest Briton.

It was my pleasure to write the cast and production interviews for ITV.

Visiting the set last year during filming.

For some fascinating conversations with Michael Gambon, Lindsay Duncan, Romola Garai, Bill Paterson, Matthew Macfadyen and executive producer David Aukin.

“I’M really glad we are shining a light on it.

“It’s such a rich and different life we’ve not seen in costume drama before.”

Jessica Raine talking about Jericho, a new eight-part series which begins on ITV at 9pm this Thursday (Jan 7).

Set in Yorkshire during the 1870s, it tells the story of a navvy town community gathered to build a huge railway viaduct.

Former Call The Midwife star Jessica plays Annie Quaintain, evicted from her home after the death of her schoolmaster husband.

Together with her two children – Martha, played by ex-Corrie actress Amy James-Kelly, and George (Sam Bottomley) – she heads for an uncertain future in the remote settlement of Jericho.

“SOME say heroes are born. Others…they’re made.”

Beowulf: Return To The Shieldlands begins on ITV at 7pm next Sunday (Jan 3).

Kieran Bew leading a huge cast as the title character in this epic 12-part series.

I was lucky enough to spend a few days on location earlier this year with Kieran and co in County Durham / Weardale.

Interviewing both the cast and those behind the camera for ITV’s Production Notes.

With other interviews completed later in the year including William Hurt, who plays Hrothgar.

And honoured to host the on stage Q&A after the first episode, directed by Jon East, was screened at BAFTA in London in December.

Version 2

“PETER Pan’s for little kids. I saw it years ago.”

If that’s what you’re thinking about Peter & Wendy (ITV, 8pm Boxing Day), then think again.

The feature length family film is rooted in the present day of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

While linking into JM Barrie’s classic story and its origins.

Irish actress Hazel Doupe plays Lucy Rose, a young girl who arrives at GOSH for a life or death operation.

Stanley Tucci is hospital consultant Mr Wylie (no relation), the surgeon who has Lucy’s life in his hands.