Jeremy Piven as Harry Selfridge.
Jeremy Piven as Harry Selfridge.

“IT’S just wonderful.”

Oxford Street, London, 1909. Then one year before.

Mr Selfridge opens its doors for business on ITV1 at 9pm on Sunday (January 6).

The beginning of a 10-part series with plenty of drama, romance and sheer fun in store.

American actor Jeremy Piven plays the lead role of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the flamboyant Chicago visionary who invented modern shopping.

downtonxmas12a

“LIFE is strange, isn’t it?”

Downton Abbey series three, episode nine.

Otherwise known as the 2012 Christmas Special, just broadcast by ITV1 tonight – December 25 – in the UK.

If you have yet to watch it, do NOT read any further.

Come back later once you have viewed.

That obviously also goes for our American cousins waiting for series three to begin on PBS on Jan 6.

As well as other Downton fans across the globe who are not yet up to the UK series pace.

There are major spoilers below.

So unless you want to read them, stop now.

“THIS town – it’s all secrets. Everyone knows something you don’t.”

Sherlock star Andrew Scott leads the cast of three-part ITV1 drama The Town.

A contemporary story also featuring Martin Clunes, Charlotte Riley, Julia McKenzie, Gerard Kearns, Kelly Adams and remarkable teenage newcomer Avigail Tlalim.

It’s Olivier-award winning writer Mike Bartlett’s first TV drama and begins on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday December 5.

Unlocking a mystery over three hours of a fresh and intriguing drama.

I had the pleasure of interviewing seven cast members for ITV1’s production notes / press pack.

“YOU know what? I just love the miracle days.”

It begins tonight with both an expanded regular cast and hospital world.

If you liked Monroe the first time around, then you’re going to love series two.

Creator and writer Peter Bowker is always a guarantee of top quality drama.

And Monroe is one of the very best things you will see on British television.

He’s not writing about us again, is he?

“I’m looking forward to all sorts of things,” exclaims Matthew Crawley.

He’s talking to his wife-to-be Lady Mary in the first episode of Downton Abbey series three.

I’m guessing you’re also looking forward to all sorts of Downton fun in the coming weeks.

So you will find only the mildest of spoilers below.

Will Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) wedding go ahead without a hitch?

Or will there be last minute complications?

Can Downton be saved in the face of a financial crisis?

And how long before Mr Bates (Brendan Coyle) hits his cell mate?

I saw the 90 minute opening episode and highlights from the rest of the series at the London press launch way back in July.

The verdict of the massed ranks of Her Majesty’s Press?

Julian Fellowes’ Downton is very much back on top form.

I know Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and co have their critics.

But, frankly, I could watch Mr Carson (Jim Carter) saying, “That treacle tart just hit the spot,” all night long.

“I did feel an extra responsibility to get this right,” says Outnumbered star Claire Skinner.

“I’ve rarely been so proud to be part of something,” adds Clare Higgins, currently on screen in Parade’s End.

Both are talking about their roles in new six-part ITV1 drama series Homefront.

As the name suggests, it focuses on the home lives of Army wives and also their husbands, partners, brothers and sons when they’re not fighting in Afghanistan.

I interviewed Claire and Clare for the ITV press pack / production notes along with Nicola Stephenson, Antonia Thomas, Warren Brown, George Costigan, Greg Wise and producer Kim Crowther.

Millie (Rachael Stirling), Susan (Anna Maxwell Martin), Lucy (Sophie Rundle) and Jean (Julie Graham).

The Bletchley Circle is an intriguing three-part drama which begins on ITV1 at 9pm this Thursday (Sept 6).

And also the second of the four ITV Drama press packs I worked on this summer.

Including my interviews with lead cast members Anna Maxwell Martin, Rachael Stirling, Sophie Rundle and Julie Graham.

Plus producer Jake Lushington, writer Guy Burt and costume designer Anna Robbins.

The second of my ITV Drama Press Pack interviews:

“If there was ever a story that typified that crime doesn’t pay, this would be it,” says Daniel Mays.
 
“It’s a controversial story. Ronnie Biggs divides opinion, even to this day. To some he represents a folk hero. But others said, ‘Lock him up and throw away the key.’
 
“My biggest challenge is to test people’s pre-conceived ideas of who he is. It’s such an incredible story and it merits being told.”

I’ve been lucky enough this summer to write the interviews for four ITV Drama press packs – otherwise known as production notes.

One of the projects was Mrs Biggs, a superb five-part series which begins on ITV1 at 9pm on Wednesday September 5 with a 90 minute opening episode.

Back in February I interviewed the real Mrs Biggs – Charmian – who acted as a consultant on the drama.

And followed that with later interviews involving Sheridan Smith, who plays her on screen, Daniel Mays (Ronnie Biggs) plus writer and executive producer Jeff Pope.

ONE of my earliest encounters with Brenda Blethyn was when she played Miriam Dervish in Outside Edge.

She gave full interview value then and has done so ever since.

While retaining that mischievous twinkle in her eye and ability to giggle.

We met up again earlier this year to talk all things Vera – ahead of the drama’s return to ITV1 at 9pm this Sunday night.