ITV1's blog

Sunday, 23 December 2012, 9:00PM – 10:30PM

Joanna Lumley embarks on an epic journey overseas to investigate one of the oldest and most famous stories in the world – Noah’s Ark.

Joanna sets out across two continents to investigate the origins of this ancient tale. Was there a global flood and where did it happen? What was the ‘Ark’ ship like and where is it now? Perhaps most importantly – why does this story hold such resonance and significance for people across so many religions and cultures around the world?

The story of Noah has fascinated many adventurers and explorers who have gone in search of the Ark – from Marco Polo to Sir Walter Raleigh, and more recently NASA astronaut James Irwin. But beyond a physical search for the ship, Joanna is also keen to unearth the symbolism of the story – from the dove as a sign of peace to the rainbow as a sign of hope.

Joanna’s epic adventure takes her from nomads on the slopes of Mount Ararat in Turkey to an ancient Sumerian flood tale on the Mesopotamian flood plain – now on the Turkish/Syrian border. In India a lost civilization, ancient trade routes and the Hindu faith turn up more clues, as do the sinking mountain ranges and maritime history of Oman.

The twists and turns of Joanna’s detective story provide a fresh perspective on how myth, legend, religion and science have come to play their part in understanding a story far older than the Bible itself. The journey to uncover the origins of one of the most enduring tales of all time is a surprising one.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012, 8:45PM – 10:45PM

The family receive a warm welcome at Duneagle Castle, visiting Rose and her parents in the Highlands. But there is no disguising the tensions between their hosts.

Carson is determined to keep the servants back at Downton working hard, but with a country fair coming up, will some be tempted to push their luck?

Could romance be on the cards for Mrs Patmore?

Friday, 28 December 2012, 8:30PM – 9:00PM

Over the decades Coronation Street has become a much-loved part of the nation’s festive fare. In this special Yuletide edition of The Corrie Years, these are the stories behind some of the most memorable plots from Christmas on the cobbles.

From the sad departure of Alf Roberts to the wedding of Claire and Ashley and the recent twist on the greatest story ever told.

Narrated by Katherine Kelly, the documentary features interviews with cast past and present including William Roache, Thelma Barlow, Sam Aston, Jennie McAlpine, Steven Arnold, Helen Worth and Sue Nicholls.

Friday, 4 January 2013, 8:00PM – 8:30PM

In the third series, Ray continues his celebration of the British landscape and its wildlife. Ray travels the length and breadth of Britain during spring and summer to explore forests, rivers, islands and coasts – revealing the wildlife secrets that each habitat reveals if you know where to look.

At each location Ray meets a cast of local experts – conservationists and amateur enthusiasts with a passion for the wildlife on their doorstep. He shares his knowledge of field crafts, such as cooking limpets collected from the shore or tracking and observational techniques for wildlife, and examines the underlying geology which has given each landscape its character.

In this episode, Ray ventures out into the nutrient-rich waters around the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides in search of marine and coastal wildlife. He travels with local whale watching skipper James Fairburns as they look for the signs of minke whale and Ray comes face to face with the world’s second largest fish when he snorkels with an enormous basking shark.

Ray struggles to stay on his feet as the boat takes him to the epicentre of the Corywreckan whirlpool – a curious marine phenomena then ventures onto land to observe a secretive otter hunting along the coast. Ray meets David Sexton – Mull’s RSPB officer who shows him a very special nest site of the white-tailed eagle – a bird once lost to the Scottish landscape but now back thanks to a pioneering reintroduction project.

Saturday, 22 December 2012, 9:00PM – 10:30PM

This Christmas on The Jonathan Ross Show, Jonathan welcomes king of comedy, Michael McIntyre; star of stage and screen, Sheridan Smith; Paralympic gold medalists, Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock; film beauty, Sienna Miller; the nation’s favourite chef, Jamie Oliver, will be preparing a festive feast live in the studio and there will be music from the voice of an angel, Charlotte Church.

Saturday, 22 December 2012, 8:00PM – 9:00PM

Welcome to the beginning of the end of 2012. A mighty year of TV by any standards, some are saying the best since they cut Bread. Not content to let the televisual events of the last 12 months go without a bang, Take Me Out host Paddy McGuiness is here to show us the best of the best, the worst of the worst and to find out whether we’ve all been paying attention.

Paddy’s 2012 Show and Telly pits three celebrity pairs – Denise Van Outen and Nicky Byrne, Kate Garraway and Nicholas Owen and Antony Cotton and Chris Fountain – against each other in this end of year TV quiz. We’ll see the most talked about clips from the biggest dramas, documentaries, comedies, sporting moments and game shows that TV has to offer and put the very people who have helped to make it such a spectacular year to the test.

Who were our biggest winners – and losers in TV land this year? Which TV stars fell apart under pressure and who carried on regardless? The answers are all here if the celebrities are equal to Paddy’s questions!

Contestants face a series of three exciting elimination rounds before they reach the grand finale and the chance to win up to £20,000 for their charity of choice.

There’ll be no better way to round off an unforgettable year of TV than with a night to remember on Paddy’s 2012 Show and Telly!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012, 3:00PM – 3:10PM

The Queen delivers her annual Christmas message to the nation.

Monday, 24 December 2012, 10:15PM – 11:15PM

Aled Jones is joined by William Roache and others from the cast of Coronation Street to celebrate and tell the Christmas story from St James Church in Didsbury, Manchester – Coronation Street’s “home” church.

Tenor Russell Watson, Jonathan and Charlotte, British army singing trio The Soldiers and Corrie’s very own Catherine Tyldesley also join the celebration.

Along with everyone’s favourite Carols, the service also includes Christmas readings from Coronation Street cast members William Roache (Ken Barlow), Sally Dynevor (Sally Webster), and Shobna Gulati (Sunita Alahan)

The programme is a celebration of family and community spirit at Christmas. We follow Corrie cast members Julie Hesmondhalgh (Hayley Cropper) and Samia Ghadie (Maria Connor) away from the cobbles of Weatherfield, as they spend time with their families, friends and help out their local communities over the festive period.

Panto!

Thursday, 27 December 2012, 9:00PM – 10:30PM

Devised and co-written by comedian John Bishop with acclaimed Coronation Street and theatre writer Jonathan Harvey, Panto! is a single film starring Bishop alongside Sheridan Smith (Mrs Biggs, Gavin & Stacey), Samantha Spiro (Grandma’s House, Cor Blimey), Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Early Doors) and 1990s pop star Chesney Hawkes.

It’s the first night of pantomime ‘Dick Whittington’ at the Grand Theatre Lancaster. Lewis Loud (John Bishop), Morecambe FM’s cheeky DJ, is preparing for his stage debut as Jack the Lad. During rehearsals, romance has blossomed between him and Dick Whittington, namely token celebrity Tamsin (Sheridan Smith), better know to her fans as ‘Mad Mindy The Axe Murderer’ from the nation’s favourite soap.

A full dress rehearsal has been called and tensions are beginning to show. Producer Di (Sam Spiro) is keen for the show to be a success – it’s a tough job doing regional theatre and, by taking the part of the fairy, she is anxious to realise her lofty ambitions. Director Francis (Mark Benton) tries valiantly to pull the show together in spite of Di’s constant interfering.

When Lewis’s son, Paul (Daniel Bishop) is unexpectedly delivered to the stage door by ex-wife Gina (Kaye Wragg), Lewis realises he must take his fatherly duties seriously. Not easy when you’re surrounded by chaos and egos, most notably faded theatrical actor Johnny Darby (Michael Cochrane) doing a reluctant turn as a pantomime dame, Di’s nervous daughter Chantelle (Ami Metcalf), the woefully miscast love interest of Dick, and a very accident prone Chesney Hawkes, desperately trying to prove he has more to his musical repertoire than ‘The One and Only’.

John Bishop said: “In 2006 I left my job – that Christmas I appeared in a local panto. It was there I fell in love with that world and came up with the idea of a comedy drama, which has now evolved into Panto! To be making this six years later for ITV1 is really very exciting. The script I’ve written with Jonathan Harvey is something I’m immensely proud of, and the cast are all brilliant – and we’ve even got Chesney Hawkes! What more could anyone wish for this Christmas.”

ITV Comedy Commissioner Myfanwy Moore added: “We’re delighted that the very talented John Bishop and company are going to entertain our audience at Christmas, with such a glittery and heart warming treat of a show.”

Panto! is co-written by John Bishop and Jonathan Harvey (Coronation Street, Beautiful Thing, Gimme Gimme Gimme and Corrie!, Canary and Mohair for the stage), directed by Christine Gernon (Hebburn, Gavin & Stacey, Grandma’s House) and produced by John Rushton (Hunderby, The Royle Family, Early Doors, Sunshine). Executive Producers are John Bishop, Lisa Thomas, Lindsay Hughes and Henry Normal.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012, 8:00PM – 9:00PM

All dogs great and small will be popping their collars to warm the hearts of the nation on this big, family Christmas special.

That Dog Can Dance! will see the country’s most talented dancing dogs perform some fantastic & unique routines in front of a judging panel of 3 dog-loving celebrities – Sharon Osbourne, Bill Bailey and Ashleigh Butler who, along with Pudsey, will also be demonstrating the skills that made them top dogs on Britain’s Got Talent.

Hosted by Christine Bleakley, the judges will pick their top three acts, but it will ultimately be the studio audience who decide which dog gets his paws on the That Dog Can Dance! trophy.

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