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TONY ON TV: Familiar faces are all set for TV return

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WHERE are those gardening detectives ‘Rosemary and Thyme’ when you want them?

They probably charge extra for working late hours, so I suppose it was too much for them to have been around when our pair of salix trees (a member of the willow family), which had been a welcoming sight outside our front door, went walkabout shortly after midnight last week.

They were, no doubt, afforded some extra help in this enforced move, so I hope the new “owners” will be showing the new acquisition to a wider audience at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show on BBC1 and 2 this week.

I had hoped to broach the subject with gardening guru Alan Titchmarsh, but he seems to have been moved sideways to let enthusiasts Monty Don and Sophie Raworth front the five-day coverage with help from “experts.”

This carousel approach by TV bosses reminds me of running a bus company -- there are various set routes, with occasional new destinations, there will often be a change of driver and some of the passengers might even get to sit on the top deck, before being bumped downstairs or even asked to get off.

But for those left standing there’s always a second chance to get back on board with news of a couple of old favourites returning, albeit with new faces.

These include a return to duty for the “boys in blue” in ‘The Bill’ four years after it was axed by ITV while BBC are hoping that viewers old and new will re-connect with ‘Poldark’ after a 40-year break as Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner) returns to his native Cornwall after service in the American War of Independence.

The Beeb are also considering giving a Saturday night slot for a gameshow, similar to ‘Bullseye’ which ITV ditched in 1995, while plans are well advanced for a return of the waspish wit of ‘Mapp and Lucia’ with Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor reprising the roles taken by Geraldine McEwen and Prunella Scales in ITV’s 1980s series.

That’s for the future, but for the present there’s plenty of choices with Hollywood again the backdrop for the third series of the offbeat comedy ‘Episodes’ (BBC2, Wednesday) with Brits Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig playing second fiddle to ex-’Friends’ star LeBlanc, while over on Channel 5 tomorrow it’s off to Galway on the west coast of Ireland as ex-cop ‘Jack Taylor,’ played with conviction by Iain Glen, is called in to help solve a murder made to look like suicide.

Manchester’s the focus of the new drama ‘From Here to There’ (BBC1, Thursday) which sees successful businessman Daniel Cotton (Philip Glenister) presiding over a bad-tempered family meeting with his brother and father which is literally blown apart when the heart of the city centre was hit by an IRA bomb in June 1996.

The men escape serious injury, but the near-death experience sets Daniel on a new course as he re-evaluates his life and relationships.

The second new drama takes viewers back over the Irish Sea to mid-1950s Dublin, the setting for ‘Quirke’ (BBC1, Sunday) with Gabriel Bryne in the title role as a brooding pathologist at odds with a fellow medic after the body of a recently deceased patient goes missing from his pathology lab.

 

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