ITV1's blog

Tuesday, 30 June 2009, 8:00PM – 9:00PM

In part two of the challenge to find what could be the world’s best diet, presenter Jonathan Maitland and four overweight celebrities – Linda Robson, Cheryl Baker, Darren Gough and Carole Malone – continue their journey to discover why other nations are bucking the obesity trend and how they compare to the UK.

From raw fish in Japan to the low-carb diet in California; from vegetarian curry in India to the Mediterranean diet in Italy – each of the celebrities travels to a different nation, immersing themselves in the local cultural attitude towards healthy living and learning to cook their food.

They are challenged to maintain their regime when they return to the UK for a further five weeks to see who will lose the most weight and emerge the healthiest. At the same time, presenter Jonathan examines, with the help of nutritionist Amanda Ursell and dietician Dr Catherine Collins, what has happened to our eating habits in the UK and why 25 per cent of us are now obese. And he also joins the diet challenge by reverting back to the typical post-war diet that his parents would have followed.

In this episode, Birds of a Feather star Linda Robson lands in Japan, where only 3 per cent of people are obese and they live longer, healthier lives than anyone else in the world. Jonathan attempts to stick to a traditional British diet, eating three healthy meals a day, sensible portions and turning his back on all snacks. And celebrity newspaper columnist Carole Malone jets off to LA, home to Hollywood and the beautiful people and where tough exercise regimes and dieting are a way of life.

At just over 13 stone, Carole is overwhelmed by the perfectly toned bodies of the California beauties surrounding her.

“I want to cover up here,” Carole jokes. “I want to go to a shop now and buy a T-shirt, a big baggy thing and hide because there is not a fat person on this street. There’s a part of me that says, ‘Who cares what they think,’ but of course you do care. When you are overweight, you always care what other people think. If I was living here full time, I’d have to be a lot slimmer than I am.”

In search of her own skinny frame, Carole adopts the popular low carb diet, which means plenty of fruit and vegetables, fish and chicken and absolutely no bread, pasta or other high-carb foods.

She meets up with former Blue Peter presenter Katy Hill, who has been in LA for two years, for some support. “My lifestyle has changed hugely from being here,” says Katy. “I put on five stone when I was pregnant with my daughter and I was still carrying quite a lot of that baby weight when we landed here. That was quite a culture shock because people are tiny here. I remember being in a big hotel in LA having lunch with a British girlfriend and we ordered the bread basket and you could literally hear all the women in the restaurant go, “Uh! They’re eating bread!”

“Everything’s geared much more to fitness here, you can be outdoors so much more because of the weather. In restaurants there’s always a healthy option, in supermarkets the organic produce is amazing. It’s easy to be healthy in LA.”

But it’s not so easy for Carole who is put through a punishing fitness regime by celebrity fitness trainer Michael George – running endlessly up staircases and working out as much as three times a day on the beach.

In Japan, Linda Robson is not finding it any easier. The national diet consists of plenty of noodles, rice and vegetables, with the main protein being soya and fish. The Japanese eat three and a half times the amount of fish that we do in the UK. Low in fat and sugar, these foods ensure obesity levels are the lowest in the developed world.

But Linda is having trouble swallowing one of its main staples – raw fish! Invited for dinner by the Kato family, she can’t keep the specially prepared sashimi down. “I’m really embarrassed now,” she says. “Maybe I should have started with the dumpling and worked my way up.”

She is impressed, however, with the other dishes and how the whole family prepares the food and eats together – something her own family rarely does. Eating with chopsticks also slows things down and reduces the amount of food consumed.

Her guide and food writer Kimiko Barber explains: “There’s a saying in Japanese, ‘Hari hachi abumni,’ means basically tummy 80 per cent. You should never eat up to when you feel full, bloated or stuffed, but you should leave the table as you are thinking, ‘I’d like a bit more.’”

Linda and Carole have learned an incredible amount through their travels but will they be able to apply any of it to their normal routines in the UK?

As the programme continues, Linda finds sticking to a Japanese diet a near impossibility with her busy work schedule and makes the mistake of turning to oriental take-away meals.

A lack of carbohydrates is leaving Carole in a terrible rage and the newspaper columnist is finding giving up wine, which is high in carbohydrates, a real challenge.

She explains: “I’ve been invited to a few parties, dinner parties, drinks things and they’re all monstrously boring. I get there and we all start off the same and then people have a few glasses a wine and I have my fizzy water and within an hour I am gagging to go home because everyone starts repeating themselves and you think they are terribly interesting and they’re not because I’ve heard it all before 10 minutes ago. And I know that’s what I’m like when I’ve had a few drinks. And it just makes your social life deathly, deathly dull.”

And Jonathan, who is attempting to revert back to a traditional British diet, is struggling to resist his snack addiction forcing his mentor top chef Ed Baines to crack the whip by signing him up for a gruelling military fitness session.

As their challenge ends, the three of them rejoin Darren Gough and Cheryl Baker, who have adopted Mediterranean and Indian vegetarian diets respectively, to find out if their new eating regimes have left them any fitter and healthier.

Each is weighed and measured and their cholesterol levels are tested. Who will have lost the most weight and will that necessarily mean they are the healthiest? Will any of the participants continue on with their new eating habits? And which nation will emerge as having what could very well be the world’s best diet?

Monday, 29 June 2009, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

Sally Anne Bowman was a beautiful teenage model with the world at her feet. She was brutally stabbed to death and raped just yards from her front door in a quiet suburban street. Her murder sent out shock waves across the UK but even with the huge amount of media coverage police still struggled to catch her killer.

The early evidence pointed to one suspect – but he was the wrong man. Police had the DNA left by the doorstep killer, but without his name, could they catch him before he struck again?

In this programme the police leading the investigation reveal the problems they faced. They tell how a chance incident led to the killer’s capture following months of frustration and Real Crime features actual CCTV footage of the killer’s arrest.

Sally Anne’s parents speak openly about their shock and pain as well as paying tribute to their daughter. Plus, a former flatmate of the killer provides a fascinating account of how he experienced, first hand, his violent nature.

Sally Anne had been on a girls’ night out in Croydon when her boyfriend, Lewis Sproston, picked her up and drove her back to her flat at around 2.30am. The couple bickered in the car outside flat for at least an hour and three quarters until 4.15am when Lewis left and Sally Anne was then set upon and brutally stabbed just 10 yards from her front door.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Cundy, who led the investigation, says “It is still one of the worst crimes that has ever been committed by an individual.”

Detective Inspector Chris LePere says, “We know that Sally Anne was raped, we know that she was bitten. How anybody could want to seriously sexually assault a young lady after they had murdered her with pints of blood surrounding her body and covering her body, it just beggars belief.”

The initial suspicion following her murder fell on those close to Sally Anne, particularly as her boyfriend Lewis Sproston was the last person to see her alive.

Cundy says, “Lewis said, ‘I think I left about half four in the morning.’ Now we already knew at that point in time that Sally had been murdered quarter past, twenty past four in the morning, so immediately that made Lewis the main suspect for Sally’s murder.”

But the killer had left his DNA at the murder scene, and it didn’t match Lewis’s. Sally Anne’s mother says police officers told her that, if the killer had not left his DNA, Lewis would have been doing a life sentence.

She says: “To me that is dreadful. There could have been an innocent person in prison right now. DNA is such an important factor in this case.”

The police learnt that they had a match with the DNA found at Sally’s murder but it was for an undetected offence in Croydon in 2001: a sexual assault at a nearby phone box. The police were now hunting a serial attacker.

A media appeal for information about the killer brought no leads, so the police did something they’d never done before. They launched the largest voluntary DNA screening process ever carried out, and encouraged local men to volunteer to be swabbed.

Le Pere admits : “we never believed that the offender would come and voluntarily give his DNA to us, but it enabled us to eliminate a large swathe of local men and we believed our offender lived locally.”

800 men were swabbed over a two week period but the killer never turned up. Sally Anne’s mother Linda describes how she visited pubs and clubs, warning young women that the killer was still out there: “We were just like doing our part so the police can concentrate on the investigation. It’s all things that need to be done and it just made it a little bit easier and it made us feel useful as well.”

Nine months after her murder, it took a completely unrelated incident to break open the Sally Anne Bowman case. Mark Dixie, a 35 year old chef, was watching an England football game in a pub when he got involved in a minor fight in full view of Police Community Support Officers. He was arrested and, as is standard practice, swabbed for DNA.

Chris Le Pere says, “That was put into the system and then it was cross referenced on the National Database and two weeks later we got the information – bingo we’ve had the hit, we’ve identified your offender as Mark Dixie.”

Sally Anne’s father Paul had told Stuart Cundy he only wanted to be told when the police were sure they’d found the murderer. “I said the three words I want you to say to me when I pick up the telephone on that day is…we’ve got him.”

Police searched where Dixie was staying and made another horrifying discovery: a video tape which suggested he was aroused by the newspaper coverage of Sally Anne’s murder. Mark Dixie was charged with the murder of Sally Anne Bowman later that night.

His trial began on February 4, 2008 at the Old Bailey, but Dixie pleaded not guilty. Stuart Cundy remembers hearing his defence. “He was saying he’d walked into Blenheim Crescent and he’d found what he thought was a drunk girl on the floor, which he decided he would rape and it wasn’t until he was almost finished did he realise she’s dead, somebody has murdered her, and then he walks away and goes back. A ridiculous suggestion.”

A former flatmate of Dixie’s tells the programme about his aggressive, irrational behaviour, witnessed first hand when he asked him to pay his share of the rent: “He picked up a bar stool flung it at me. I moved out of way it hit the wall. It took a big chip out of the wall.”

On hearing Dixie’s guilty verdict, Paul Bowman recalls his feelings: “I can’t say as I’ll ever feel sort of happy, properly happy all the time I draw breath really – but it was one of the better feelings in the last three and a half years it must be said.”

For Sally Anne’s family, the focus is now on coming to terms with life without their daughter. Linda Bowman explains, “Every morning I get up into an empty house and, you know, look at the photos, walk down the stairs and say, ‘Morning, Sal,’ as though she’s still there. And its not I’m going insane, it’s because, you know, I want people to speak about her and I want her name said out loud. But it will affect every generation from now on in our family.”

Monday, 29 June 2009, 5:00PM – 6:00PM

Bradley Walsh hosts The Chase, a brand new quiz show on ITV1 daytime.

Every day four contestants pit their wits against The Chaser, a ruthless quiz genius determined to stop them winning at all costs.

The four strangers must work as a team, answering general knowledge questions and playing a strategic game in order to win themselves a potential prize pot worth thousands of pounds.

But standing in the way of the cash prize is The Chaser, a highly intelligent, supremely self-confident quiz genius who is on a daily mission to stop the contestants from winning any money.

The contestants take it in turns to build a cash sum by answering quick fire questions against the clock. Each must then go head to head with the Chaser in a race to get their money into the team prize pot without being caught.

In the chase down the game board, every right answer moves the contestant a step closer to the exit – every wrong answer gives the Chaser the chance to close the gap.

If the contestant gets out without being caught, their money is added to the team prize pot. However, if The Chaser catches them first, the money is lost for the team and the contestant is out of the game.

The game concludes with the remaining contestants entering a two minute quick fire round where each correct answer pushes them along the exit route. They then must watch as The Chaser is given 2 minutes to catch up. If he doesn’t reach them in time, the team prize money is split equally between the contestants; if he succeeds in catching them, the team goes home with nothing.

THE CHASE CONTINUES WEEKDAYS ON ITV1.

Monday, 29 June 2009, 3:00PM – 4:00PM

It’s the battle of the hobs in this new series of Daily Cooks Challenge, hosted by Antony Worrall Thompson. Each week two of the UK’s top chefs battle it out across a week in a series of daily challenges to win heart, mind and taste buds of a different celebrity guest judge each day.

The chefs’ skills, experience and creativity will be pushed to the limits as they compete to complete three challenges that every cook at home faces regularly – cooking against the clock, cooking within a budget and trying to create an impressive meal with set ingredients.

Every day there’ll be a winner as the celebrity guest passes judgement on the finished dishes.

And as the week progresses, both chefs will be battling to see who will emerge victorious from their week-long culinary duel.

Every day Anthony will be giving the celebrity guest a cookery masterclass, which could be anything from showing them how to cook their favourite dish, explaining why their soufflé sinks or teaching a few crafty tricks of the trade.

In the first week the chefs are John Burton Race and Gino D’Acampo, the celebrities judging their efforts are Ann Diamond, Jennie McAlpine, Sharron Davies, Jonathan Ansell and Clare Buckfield.

The chefs competing in the series will be Jean Christophe Novelli, Gino D’Acampo, Brian Turner, Aldo Zilli, John Burton Race, Jun Tanaka, Martin Blunos, Richard Phillips and Merrilees Parker.

Celebrity guests taking part include Claire Sweeney, Craig Phillips, Duncan James, Esther Rantzen, Edwina Currie, Dermot Murnghan, Gaby Roslin, David Grant, Danny Wallace, Donal McIntyre, Hannah Waterman, Jennie Bond, June Sarpong, Liz McLarnon, Leslie Ash, Samantha Fox, Shane Lynch and Paul Young.

Daily Cooks Challenge runs daily Monday to Friday at 3pm.

Sunday, 28 June 2009, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

Jack plays Judge Jeremy Harding, an affluent lawyer and secret philanderer who is convinced he is being blackmailed by a mystery woman out to destroy his reputation in episode four.

“He is a bit of a local roué that darts between Norfolk and London. He has got a wife but she is more interested in her watercolour painting then she is in him. As a result, Jeremy has got quite a complicated private life.

“During the course of the story he is being blackmailed, which is why he turns to Peter Kingdom in the first place to help him out. He is in quite a state because he believes he is being watched.

“Peter Kingdom investigates and discovers there is rather more to the story than Jeremy thinks there is. Without giving too much away, the source of the blackmailing is closer to home than he imagined.”

Jack Dee is well known for his sardonic, dead pan comedy, radio and television presenting, writing and numerous acting roles. He has never been tempted to swap is career in the arts for a job as a lawyer.

“I wouldn’t have the memory power to be a lawyer. I’d also find it very difficult prosecuting people. I don’t think I’d enjoy that even though people might think it to be my natural tendency!

“I wouldn’t attempt to defend Jeremy Harding in any way! He is the kind of person who loves a life that suits him and it doesn’t seem to matter if it suits anyone else or not. He is the type to have a girl in every port and he likes it that way. It is a very difficult life to maintain without trouble bubbling up in one place or another all the time.

“To some extent he is a hypocrite. He is sitting there as a judge when in fact he really isn’t in a position to judge anyone because of his own personal record.

“He’s not a malevolent man or a bad person; I just think he is a bit of a rascal who hasn’t grown up. His worst crime is that he is arrogant and thinks he can live like that without any repercussions but of course he can’t.”

Jack Dee shot to fame in the early 1990s, scooping the British Comedy Award for Best Stage Newcomer in 1991. Since then he has won the British Comedy Award for Best Stand-up Comedian (1997) and was nominated for a BAFTA for Jack Dee Live at the Apollo in 2006.

Jack has also starred in dramas such as Silent Witness, Dalziel and Pascoe and Jonathan Creek, and written and starred in hit show Lead Balloon. He is currently writing a book called Thanks For Nothing about his life in comedy. Despite his busy schedule, Jack confesses he was overjoyed when he was offered the role in Kingdom.

“I’m really lucky that I’ve got variety in my work. Acting work is a bonus to what I normally do and it’s great when a job like Kingdom comes up. I enjoy my work but doing that as a job is what I call the icing on the cake.

We may not have seen the last of Judge Jeremy Harding in Kingdom. There is a surprise in store for our viewers…

“Without giving too much away, there are repercussions from a previous relationship that Jeremy had with Peter Kingdom’s sister Beatrice, played by Hermione Norris.

Sunday, 28 June 2009, 8:00PM – 9:00PM

There are 7,000 islands which make up the Caribbean, stretching from the coast of Florida down to South America, and, in this brand new series for ITV1, Sir Trevor McDonald goes beyond the images of the region in the glossy travel brochures to discover why the rich mixture of people and cultures make it like no other place on earth.

Sir Trevor begins his journey by visiting three islands which typify the contrasts in the Caribbean. In the first part of The Secret Caribbean with Trevor McDonald:

He takes in the ‘faded romance’ of Cuba, the Caribbean’s biggest island, a country where almost everything is half a century old. He visits the oldest cigar making factory on the island, and learns about living under a communist regime where food is rationed and a television can cost more than a home.

Sir Richard Branson gives the roving reporter a personal tour around his own £200m paradise island in the stunning tax haven of the British Virgin Islands where guests pay £30,000 a night to enjoy the luxury surroundings, the tremendous views, the white sandy beaches and the crystal clear waters.

Trevor travels to his birthplace, Trinidad, for one of the highlights of the country’s calendar, a two-day long carnival. Trevor models a hand-crafted costume and soaks up the noisy, bright atmosphere as bands of up to 1000 people dance through the streets.

In Cuba, Trevor discovers a country where in large part time has stood still. When Fidel Castro overthrew the government 50 years ago America responded by imposing a trade embargo on the island – as a result many things there are more than 50 years old, including many of the cars.

With a local journalist as his guide, Juan, Trevor travels around the capital city, Havana, in a bright red classic Chevrolet.

Trevor says: “The entire city is enveloped by a sense of faded elegance. Buildings once grand and magnificent show signs of weary neglect.”

Juan explains to Trevor what life is like under a communist regime where everyone is paid equally, from doctors to taxi drivers, unemployment is less than two per cent and there are reminders everywhere that the state is in control – especially in the media.

The news presenter meets his Cuban counterpart, newsreader Mariuska Diaz to see how her daily life compares. They discuss News at Ten’s lighthearted ‘And finally…’ tales which take a different twist in Cuba – the story at the end of the bulletin that day is about a school being named after communist icon, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.

Trevor tours the news studio and chats to Mariuska about her fame but soon discovers that celebrity status is discouraged in the country and the newsreaders are jacks of all trades – even applying their own make-up before a bulletin. Trevor is also surprised to learn that the newsreader has a second job to supplement her wage – as an MC in a club.

Juan shows Trevor his two-bedroom apartment bought for the equivalent of $200 from the government – then he takes him to an electrical shop, with nearly bare shelves. As consumerism is discouraged in Cuba, the government taxes goods, resulting in a television costing more than Juan’s apartment and some things taken for granted in Britain, like toasters, being almost impossible to obtain.

Trevor’s shopping trip with Juan, as he picks up his monthly food rations, is a world apart from a supermarket run in the UK. Trevor watches in amazement as the Cuban reporter gets rice and grains and even cigarettes and matches at a subsidised rate – his whole monthly shop costs the equivalent of just $2.

At the cigar factory, Trevor follows workers as they collect the tobacco and roll the leaves, producing three million cigars a year by hand that sell for up to £30 each in the west – more than the workers earn in a single month.

The atmosphere in the factory is buzzing as the workers chat and smoke but Trevor is astonished to see them all stop and stand in silence as the national anthem is played before the daily newspaper is read out to them.

And Trevor faces a test to his resolve when he is offered a freshly made cigar – something he gave up smoking 25 years ago.

As he leaves Cuba, Trevor says: “I wonder whether the era of a new American president will bring meaningful change to Cuba. I felt the place evokes in the visitor a real feeling of old world romance. People I met are anxious to embrace change but it seemed to me only on their own terms.”

Trevor’s stops off at the British Virgin Islands, a paradise far removed from his Cuban experience: “They are a little bit of Britain in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. The Queen is still sovereign in these parts and it’s easy to see why Britain is keen to keep an influence. The natural beauty, combined with generous tax breaks, makes these islands a magnet for some of Britain’s richest people.”

Thirty years ago Richard Branson bought Necker Island for £60,000 when it was completely barren. He has now developed it into a luxury residence which employs 70 people.

Trevor takes a look around Necker and meets some of the guests who have splashed out and flown in from New York for a three night mini-break. And Richard invites him into the office where he runs his multi-billion pound empire – a hammock over-looking the ocean.

Richard tells the programme: “We’ve had an offer in excess of £200m, but it’s priceless, we’d never sell it, it’s one of those things which is absolutely priceless. It’s a nice position to be in, I’m lucky, I am spoilt, I accept that and I pinch myself every morning.”

Trevor also rolls up his trousers and wades to the shore for a sneak preview of Richard’s latest purchase, Mosquito Island, which he plans to transform into an eco-friendly retreat with its own water and power supplies.

Finally, Trevor goes back to his roots in Trinidad, where the memories come flooding back as he takes in the annual carnival. The island, one of the richest in the Caribbean after an oil boom, gained independence in 1962 but has always retained a robust sense of its own identity, which is particularly evident on carnival day.

The numerous bands which make up the carnival each have a historical or social theme and Trevor watches as they parade through the streets in their colourful costumes, playing music and singing all through the day and late into the night.

Carnival dancers can be on their feet for up to 15 hours at a time and Trevor meets some of troupe as they show him their elaborate feathered and shiny costumes, some of which cost up to £1000. He joins in with the spirit of things, donning one of the outlandish outfits.

Steel drums are synonymous with the rhythm of the annual celebrations. He meets the man who makes the carefully crafted instruments, sold all over the world, which Trevor refers to as the ‘heartbeat’ of the carnival.

Trevor says: “Watching the festival this year brought back for me a flood of warm memories. For two days Trinidadians put all their problems behind them and lose themselves with abandon in a riot of noise and colour.

“They know there will be a more sober tomorrow but that simply means 364 days till the next carnival.”

Saturday, 27 June 2009, 7:30PM – 8:30PM

Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton return with their brand new series of All Star Mr & Mrs. The cult TV classic will see some if the nation’s favourite celebrity couples really are made for one another.

Each episode will see three celebrity couples compete for big cash prizes, for a charity of their choice, plus the all important classic Mr and Mrs carriage clock!

Tonight on the penultimate show of the series, politician (Lord) David Steel and wife (Lady) Judy, Sugababes Keisha Buchanan and partner Dean Thomas and actor Shaun Williamson and wife Melanie will all compete for big cash prizes for a charity of their choice.

The show, will not only see hosts Phil and Fern question celebrities about their relationships, but will also get an insight into their home life as All Star Mr & Mrs takes a trip around the couple’s homes.

As each pair plays, one half will be sent off to a sound proofed booth whilst their other half will be quizzed on their relationship and life together. The other half of the couple will then return and be challenged to match their partner’s answers in a bid to win points.

After two rounds the couple with the most points will go on to play for big cash prize of £30,000 for a charity of their choice plus there will be a few more surprises along the way.

Viewers can join Phil and Fern in a celebration of relationships and will get a real insight into the world of celebrity couples as they reveal how similar, or different, they really are! Do even celebrities argue over leaving the toilet seat up, snoring, nagging, the remote control, being late and leaving wet towels on the floor?

Thursday, 25 June 2009, 7:00PM – 7:30PM

Katie (Sammy Winward) moves her horses from Home Farm to Butlers but she is told by Andy (Kelvin Fletcher) to clear off. Katie hangs around to try and talk to him and notices that the farm is in a real state. Still unable to get through to a vacant Andy, Katie has no choice but to request a favour from Nathan (Lyndon Ogbourne). Nathan agrees to let her stable the horses temporarily at Home Farm but slyly insists she pay an increased daily rate. Katie tells Paddy (Dominic Brunt) that she is worried about Andy state of mind as he has no recollection of their agreement about the stables. Paddy pays a visit to the farm and is worried about the health of the animals and discovers unopened letters from DEFRA. Paddy explains to Katie that unless they can help him the government will close the farm down. Can anybody get through to Andy?

At Home Farm, Mark (Maxwell Caulfield) and Natasha (Amanda Donohoe) struggle to hide their problems from the children. Maisie (Alice Coulthard) tries to force the truth out of them but has to back down when Nathan doesn’t support her. After a run-in with Cain (Jeff Hordley) Maisie’s concern for her parents grows. Maisie apologises to her parents for her relationship with Cain and is horrified to hear they have paid him to stop him going to the police. Natasha lies to Maisie that this is the cause of their disagreement. She assures her they are a strong family and can survive the likes of Cain Dingle causing trouble. With Maisie placated Natasha turns on her husband and it’s clear that there is no sign of a thawing in their frosty relationship. Have Natasha and Mark succeeded in hiding the terrible truth from their children?

Meanwhile, calling the psychic, Marlon (Mark Charnock) realises he has been had when Lizzie’s (Kitty McGeever) phone rings. He confronts Lizzie and accuses her of treating him like an idiot. Marlon is angered when Lizzie doesn’t apologise to him and goes to work in a strop. Later, Lizzie tries to explain herself, but Eli (Joseph Gilgun) doesn’t help matters when he approves of her moneymaking scheme. Still feeling betrayed Marlon refuses to serve either of them. When Lizzie returns from the pub Marlon tells her he’s had to pawn the TV in order to pay his huge phone bill. Lizzie is finally sorry and offers to give Marlon half the money to buy back the TV. Marlon agrees but after Lizzie is gone he emerges from the kitchen with the TV, having hidden it away. Can Marlon trust Lizzie again?

Filmed entirely on location in the majestic region of Connemara in the West of Ireland, ITV’s new three-part drama reflects one policeman’s quest to serve a rural community – Single handed..

Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell), a Sergeant with the Irish police, is completely at home in his new patch; he ought to be as he was born and brought up there.  He knows the people, he knows the West of Ireland and, more importantly, he knows how the two fit together.  But this is no cushy posting; Jack’s ‘patch’ stretches from the Atlantic coast in the West to the glacial lakes in the East, from Galway City in the South to Killary harbour in the North – he’s on call 24-hours a day and, more often than not, he’s single-handed.

From the team that brought you ITV’s award winning drama The Vice, SINGLE-HANDED explores how policing a rural community differs from city policing.  Your precinct is vast, the terrain extreme and the community lives on the edge.  You are always on duty.  There’s nowhere to hide.

Stationed more than 40 miles from his superior officers and with specialist backup hours away, Jack is used to thinking on his feet.  In circumstances like these, normal procedures are always under pressure and often bypassed altogether, but Jack has the shadow of his predecessor hanging over him.  His father Gerry (Ian McElhinney – Little Dorrit, Closing the Ring, Rough Diamond) has only recently vacated the position and Jack’s methods are not necessarily the same…

The job has taught Jack one invaluable lesson – when the going gets tough, the only person you can rely on is yourself.  Fortunately, the life suits him.

Guest starring in SINGLE-HANDED are Caroline Catz (Doc Martin), Charlene Mckenna (Raw), Stuart Graham (Hunger) and Ruth McCabe (The Street).

Rob Pursey, managing director of Touchpaper TV, says: “Touchpaper are delighted to be launching a new series on ITV1.  Single-Handed brings an ITV audience the wonderful, atmospheric landscape of Western Ireland, three intriguing stories – and a fascinating new lead actor in the form of Owen McDonnell.”

SINGLE-HANDED is made by Touchpaper Television, part of the RDF Media Group.  It is written by Barry Simner (The Vice, Midsomer Murders, Holby City), directed by Colm McCarthy (Spooks, Murphy’s Law) and Anthony Byrne (Wild Decembers) and  produced by Clare Alan (A Harlot’s Progress, Wild Decembers, A Most Mysterious Murder). Rob Pursey (Being Human, Murderland, City of Vice) is the executive producer.  

Wednesday, 24 June 2009, 8:00PM – 9:00PM

PC Leon Taylor (Dominic Power) and his colleagues respond to a call regarding Petal Ford (Claire Lams), who has been knocked unconscious outside a known drugs den. As Leon approaches Petal, he sees an unidentified man tending to her, who runs away when he sees Leon. Inside the flat, officers are shocked to discover not only are drugs being dealt there, but also manufactured.

Later, DC Mickey Webb (Chris Simmons) heads to St Hugh’s hospital to speak to Petal, who tells him she was walking past the flat when two men ran out of the door and pushed her over. She says that she didn’t know the man who was helping her, but Mickey is unconvinced by her story. As Mickey leaves the hospital, he sees the man that tried to help Petal and chases him through the hospital. The DC finally catches up with him and is stunned to see that it’s Ben Meadows (Jamie Belman), DCI Jack Meadows (Simon Rouse) son, who’s just been released from prison. Ben admits that he’s Petal’s boyfriend and begs Mickey not to tell Jack he’s out.

Back at the station, Mickey quietly tells DS Stuart Turner (Doug Rao) about Ben, who tells him to keep it quiet for the time being. Jack briefs the team and explains that dangerous drug dealer Danny Travis (Clive Russell) is central to the drug-making operation. Travis is in prison, but the officers believe that he has Linton Barry (Oris Erhuero) working for him on the outside. Elsewhere, Mickey pushes Petal for answers and she finally admits she has a younger brother in the same prison with Travis. Linton blackmailed Petal and forced her to put her name on the flat’s tenancy agreement, in order to keep her brother safe.

As the investigation continues, Mickey and Stuart discover there is a drug turf war raging between Linton and another dealer, Franco Osmond. Stuart reaches the conclusion that Ben is selling the drugs that Linton is making and when they discover a handover has been arranged, a sting is set up. During the observation, Mickey and Stuart see Ben turn up and collect a package from one of Linton’s cronies. The sting takes a further twist when Jack suddenly joins the officers, looks through the binoculars and is stunned to see his son. Running out to Ben, the furious DCI is forced to arrest him.

Back at the station, Jack and Ben have a heated argument. Ben eventually admits that he was recently released from the same prison as Travis, who forced him to set up a deal which will end up in Linton making a big sale that night. Stuart arranges a sting which Ben agrees to help with, but Jack is convinced that he will double cross the police. Later that night, while waiting for the big deal to take place, Jack and his officers are shocked when they hear an exchange of gunfire and discover that Ben is missing.

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