“THE Durrells is not mushy in any way, ever.

“The cute stuff is always cut with very sharp humour and observation, so it’s never twee.

“That’s what I love about it. It is so clever.

“It’s such an easy and funny read. That sort of writing is some of the most difficult to do because it’s actually a little bit sharper than you imagine.”

Keeley Hawes talking to me about the glorious return of The Durrells for a third series, filmed in Corfu and Ealing Studios.

Starting on ITV at 8pm this Sunday (March 18).

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“THIS is really up there with the best of what I’ve done.”

Keeley Hawes talking to me on location in Corfu during filming for new six-part drama series The Durrells (ITV, 8pm Sunday April 3).

One of the most joyous productions I’ve ever had the privilege to write about.

I read Simon Nye’s sharp, warm and wonderful scripts before flying to the Greek island last September.

Having been a member of the Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust for over 25 years and a regular visitor to their HQ in Jersey, this project already had a special place in my heart.

Also being present at Gerald Durrell’s Memorial Celebration at London’s Natural History Museum in 1995.

As the sun rose on our first full day of interviews on location, all the signs were that The Durrells was going to be truly magical.

Watching filming and then talking to Keeley and the rest of the cast simply reinforced that belief.

As did a trip to the house by the sea used as the exterior location for the family’s home on Corfu.

Along with a meeting with one of the two pelicans who play another star of the show.

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“HE’S working his way through Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes casts.

“He’ll be casting Keeley Hawes in Prey 3, probably. I would’t be surprised.”

Philip Glenister talking to me about his role as prison officer David Murdoch in the second series of Prey, created and again written by Chris Lunt.

Joking about the fact he follows on from former Life On Mars – and Mad Dogs – co-star John Simm who appeared in the acclaimed first series.

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“OVER my dead body, Andrew…”

Rory Kinnear as Barry Fairbrother in BBC1’s new three-part adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

Jo Rowling’s first novel for an adult audience, published in 2012, became a global best-seller with over six million copies sold to date.

The 3 x 60 minute television adaptation, written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Jonny Campbell, begins on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday Feb 15.

Set in what appears to be the idyllic English village of Pagford.

Those who have read the 500-page book will know that it deals with how we live today, including issues of community and responsibility.

“IT’S the most full on thing I’ve ever done.”

Keeley Hawes speaking tonight about being “waterboarded” in the second series of Line Of Duty.

Not quite the infamous torture technique.

But struggling to breathe after having her hair grabbed and being violently flushed face down several times into a police HQ toilet.

“You just do it and then have a big glass of wine,” she smiled.

Keeley Hawes and Ed Stoppard as Lady Agnes and Sir Hallam.

“THIS is London…”

A BBC Radio announcer and the chimes of Big Ben herald the return of Upstairs Downstairs.

Its first full BBC1 series following the three episodes screened at Christmas 2010.

Keeley Hawes (Lady Agnes Holland) and Ed Stoppard (Sir Hallam Holland) again lead the line upstairs at 165 Eaton Place.

With Alex Kingston arriving in episode one as Dr Blanche Mottershead, the younger sister of Lady Holland.

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“AT first we thought that was a bit of a bore, quite frankly.

“As it happens, I think they’ve laid out the ground very nicely for us.”

Dame Eileen Atkins speaking at the British Film Institute in London last night about Downton Abbey.

Taking part in a panel Q&A following a screening of the first episode of BBC1’s revival of Upstairs Downstairs.