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“IT is by any measure an extraordinary drama.”

Prof Sir Alec Jeffreys talking to me about Code of a Killer, a heartbreaking, powerful and brilliant TV production written by Michael Crompton.

Revealing the story of how DNA fingerprinting was discovered and then used in a double murder investigation.

It was a real honour to be asked to write the ITV interviews for this moving 2 x 90 minute drama, which begins at 9pm on Easter Monday.

Including an unforgettable day in the very same laboratory at Leicester University where Sir Alec experienced that ‘Eureka Moment’ on September 10 1984.

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Jan 12 2015 update: Foyle’s War to end. Scroll down for the full announcement.

“I’M a huge Foyle’s War fan.

“I’ve seen every episode and have given dozens of box sets of it away at Christmas to various relatives and friends.

“Now they’re all just dying to see the new series because they’re big fans too and they know I’m going to be in it. It’s a special thing.”

Frasier star John Mahoney talking to me in the car park of Nantwich Town Football Club in Cheshire on a chilly day in January 2014.

‘The Dabbers’ play in the Evo Stik Premier League. But that’s not why we’re here today.

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John and I are sitting in his location base trailer during a break from filming Foyle’s War in a very grand house not far away.

In truth, it’s a special thing for me to finally meet the actor who played Marty Crane in one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

And astonishing to realise that – at 74 – this is his very first role in a British TV drama.

“It is amazing,” he agrees. “I’ve just never been asked.”

Chicago-­based John plays Andrew Del Mar, a retired Texas oil tycoon and former chairman of Global American Oil.

Now ailing and bedbound in the London home of his son Clayton (Nigel Lindsay).

He appears in High Castle, the first of three new Foyle’s War films – series eight – on ITV at 8pm this Sunday (January 4 2015).

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THE naked truth about the changing world around Downton Abbey is revealed in tonight’s episode. (Sunday October 19)
  
There are racy headlines in the library as Lady Rose (Lily James) reads out a magazine article about the opening of a “nudist colony” in Essex.
  
With writer Julian Fellowes making reference to the real life Moonella Group in Wickford, which in 1924 became the first naturist club in Britain with an established home.

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“IT is an incredible undertaking to take on something as epic as this.”

The Great Fire executive producer Douglas Rae talking to me on location in Greenwich.

Filming scenes that day in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College – one of the finest rooms in the world.

The next time we meet is somewhere in the countryside near Henley.

Where 1666 London and the River Thames have been re-created for the screen, along with the flames that will destroy a huge part of the city.

Epic indeed.

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“IT’S very important that Sidney has seen death. That he knows death.

“I remember my father said to me once:

‘I don’t suppose you’ve buried many of your friends?’

“Which is a very shocking sentence.”

Author James Runcie, son of the late Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie, talking about his creation Sidney Chambers.

Grantchester is a new six-part series starting on ITV at 9pm on Monday (October 6).

Starring James Norton as Sidney.

Totally transformed from his no doubt future award-winning role as psychopath Tommy Lee Royce in BBC1’s Happy Valley.

This photograph is (C) Carnival Film & Television Ltd and can only be reproduced for editorial purposes directly in connection with Downton Abbey, Carnival Film & Television Ltd or ITV plc. Once made available by ITV plc Picture Desk, this photograph can

“I’LL be dandy…”

It’s farewell to footman Jimmy (Ed Speleers) in this Sunday’s second episode of Downton Abbey series five (ITV, 9pm).

And hello to Richard E. Grant as art expert Simon Bricker.

I’ve now seen the first four episodes of the new series with plenty for Downton fans to look forward to in the weeks ahead.

Including Lady Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) trip to Liverpool, the latest developments involving the late Mr Green and a surprising turn of events for Violet (Maggie Smith).

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STEP inside love…

We’ll get to my ITV interviews for their new three-part 1960s’ drama a little further down. But first:

I was just a little lad when I first saw Cilla.

My mum and dad and I were on an annual holiday to Blackpool, staying on the top floor of a packed bed and breakfast establishment.

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“IT’S chilling how many people go missing every year.”

Reece Shearsmith talking about his role as DS Sean Stone in new ITV drama Chasing Shadows.

The four-part series is based around a Missing Persons Unit and the hunt for serial killers who prey on the vulnerable.

Co-starring Alex Kingston as civilian analyst Ruth Hattersley and Noel Clarke as DI Carl Prior.

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THE opening titles and theme music remain reassuringly unchanged.

Unlike the world around Downton Abbey.

It’s 1924 with a Labour government in Britain for the first time in history.

Lord Granthan (Hugh Bonneville) is convinced this threatens the Downton way of life as never before with that modern world continuing to encroach on the family.

I attended the London launch today of Downton Abbey series five – eight episodes plus a Christmas special, all written by Julian Fellowes.

Due on screen in the UK next month and in the USA in January.

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“IT was a very physical role, lots of running, hanging off bridges and climbing fences, hard work.

“But I must say I absolutely loved it.”

John Simm talking about his lead role as Det Sgt Marcus Farrow in Prey, a three-part ITV thriller written by Chris Lunt.

I spoke to John on location during filming on a cold and wet day at the start of January.

And again later when he had returned from making the first episodes of Intruders in Vancouver and was about to begin work on The Village 2.

While Chris and I chatted at ITV’s new Trafford / Media City HQ on January 6 – the official first day in that site’s history after the move from Quay Street in Manchester.

A fresh and exciting TV writer – currently bound for Hollywood – at the dawn of a new era for ITV in the North West.

You can read my interviews via the link to the ITV press pack / production notes below.