ITV4's blog

Wednesday, 4 April 2012, 1:45PM – 2:45PM

THE glitziest cricket tournament in the world – the Indian Premier League – is back, and ITV4 is covering every game.

The channel will be showing 72 of 76 games live and highlights of the other matches from the start of the competition on April 4.

The IPL, known for its glamour and razzmatazz, is in its fifth year and the first game this time will feature 2011 champions Chennai Super Kings starting the defence of their title against 2010 runners-up Mumbai Indians.

Major stars of the game including Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Lasith Malinga and Kumar Sangakkara will all be involved in the Twenty20 tournament as nine sides battle it out for the title.

Competing in the IPL this year alongside Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians are Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Pune Warriors India, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

It is ITV’s third year covering the competition and Matt Smith and Shonali Nagrani return as main anchors. The team of presenters will also include former England cricketer Isa Guha as well as Angus Scott and Mark Pougatch.

Presenter Matt Smith said: “I can’t wait for the big hitting madness to start again. The Indian Premier League really is compulsive viewing.”

Niall Sloane, ITV’s Director of Sport, said: “The Indian Premier League never fails to enthral. It is a wonderful competition and celebration of cricket at its most vibrant.” 

Regular pundits include former England captain Alec Stewart and West Indian great Clive Lloyd, alongside ex-professional Simon Hughes and a host of former England players including Mark Butcher, Dominic Cork, Vikram Solanki, John Emburey and Mark Ramprakash, casting their expert eyes over proceedings.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011, 10:00PM – 10:45PM

Al Murray joins Richard Bacon in the Beer & Pizza Club, alongside comics Tim Key & Chris Ramsey. Tonight the Club decide how to make sport more fun, reveal what really makes them angry, and confess to their most elaborate lie.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011, 10:00PM – 10:45PM

A 10 part comedy chatshow for ITV4. 

Keith Lemon, Danny Wallace & Justin Lee Collins join Richard Bacon in his Beer & Pizza Club, while Imogen Thomas pours the drinks. Tonight the Club decide on the town most deserving of a meteor strike, before choosing their ultimate super power.

Monday, 5 September 2011, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

In this new six part series for ITV4, England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio looks at the fates of the world’s leading rugby nations from the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 to France in 2007. 

In conversation with Craig Doyle, Lawrence examines what it takes for a nation to succeed at the highest level. 

Ep4: Monday 5 September 9-10pm 

Les Bleus may have missed out on rugby’s biggest prize, but they have contributed more than most to the rich tapestry of the Rugby World Cup. England legend and World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio is joined by Craig Doyle to remember fine examples of French flair including Serge Blanco’s classic try against Australia in 1987, an epic defeat to England at the Parc des Princes and famous victories over New Zealand in 1999 and 2007. 

Ep5: Wednesday 7 September 9-10pm 

The reigning world champions are put under the microscope by England legend and World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio. The Boks have lifted the trophy on two occasions, most recently in Paris in 2007 and famously on home soil in 1995. Poignant images of Francois Pienaar alongside Nelson Mandela in a Springbok shirt remain iconic to this day. With Craig Doyle. 

Ep6: Friday 9 September 9-10pm 

Having appeared in three World Cups campaigns Lawrence Dallaglio is well equipped to run the rule over England’s World Cup history. Magic moments include a famous win over France in 1991, an incredible run to the final in 2007 and of course, a memorable Jonny Wilkinson-inspired win in 2003. England fans have endured a few downs as well as ups – a narrow defeat to Australia in 1991 was followed by a battering at the hands of Jonah Lomu and the boot of Jannie De Beer.

Monday, 29 August 2011, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

In this new six part series for ITV4, England rugby legend Lawrence Dallaglio looks at the fates of the world’s leading rugby nations from the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 to France in 2007. 

In conversation with Craig Doyle, Lawrence examines what it takes for a nation to succeed at the highest level. 

The first episode features the All Blacks – while New Zealand dominate world rugby, other than the inaugural tournament in 1987, the World Cup has eluded them. On home soil, can 2011 be the year that they reclaim the title? 

Ep2 – Wednesday 21 August: Australia 

Having lifted the trophy in 1991 and 1999, Australia are one of only two nations to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy twice. England legend Lawrence Dallaglio has enjoyed famous wins over the old enemy, including the 2003 World Cup Final and he is joined by Craig Doyle to take a look at what it is that makes the Wallabies tick. 

Ep3 – Friday 2 September: Celts 

Scotland, Ireland and Wales have all made their mark on the Rugby World Cup. England legend and World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio is joined by Craig Doyle to discuss the ups and downs of the Celtic World Cup challenge to date. Includes Wales’ third place finish in ’87, Scotland’s run to the semi-finals in ’91 and Ireland’s repeated near misses. 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011, 9:00PM – 10:05PM

This brand new series for ITV4 goes behind the scenes in the life of one of Hollywood’s biggest action movie heroes – Jean Claude Van Damme. With unprecedented access to his private life, Behind Closed Doors will discover the real man behind the tough guy image. 

The programme follows globe-trotting Jean Claude at work and play. After a career spanning more than 25 years, he is still performing in macho martial arts movies and the ITV4 cameras join him on movie sets in Europe and the USA as he works on his latest productions, including the movie Weapon and Dragon Eyes, produced by big shot Hollywood producer Joel Silver. 

In this opening episode of the series Jean Claude introduces viewers to three generations of his family as he films his first movie alongside his two children and adds a new member to the Van Damme family. He also fits in a whistle-stop visit to the Ukraine to star in a Russian comedy film and reveals how he and his wife Gladys keep their marriage strong when he’s away on the road. 

Although he left home in Belgium to find fame at a young age, and now owns homes around the world, Jean Claude’s roots are still firmly in the town of Knooke. His parents still live there, and today he’s visiting them with his son Kristopher. He must be fitted for his onscreen wardrobe in his new film – and who better to measure him up than his mum? Armed with her tape measure his mum takes all of the required measurements even when faced with a distracted Jean Claude. “Don’t run away!” she cries. 

As he leaves Knooke in the evening to travel to his film set in Romania, he stops at the local church – a place which changed his life forever. As he kneels in front of it he says: “I was about 13 sleeping in my bed and I just woke up, like an epiphany, and I walked out of my room…it was snowing big snowflakes and I felt like praying. I came and I kneeled down in that church and I was completely into it and I made a dream and I prayed to save the world. I pray from nature to have a long life, because I love animals, I love nature. And I dreamed to become a movie star. And guess what? Everything I asked for myself, God gave it to me. But God never gave me the solution to saving the world. I made a movie about it called Eagle Path. I think I failed.” An emotional Jean Claude fights back the tears and says “This beautiful planet, with animals dying day by day…we have to do something to save this place.” 

For the first time both of Jean Claude’s children, Kristopher and daughter Bianca, are working alongside him on his latest action movie Weapon. And in his trailer on the set there’s a new addition to the Van Damme family. Kristopher has found a stray puppy and says: “We’re going to take her to the vet and get her vaccinated and all that good stuff and then we’re going to take her back home with us.” 

Jean Claude rescues stray dogs around the world and looks after them at his Belgian sanctuary where this puppy, named Lucky, will hopefully end up. Jean Claude says: “Two weeks from now you’ll see her true character. We see dogs in their eyes you can guess their character. I know people make fun of me but it’s true. I can talk to dogs.” 

Even with his action packed filming schedule for Weapon, Jean Claude manages to find time to fly to the Ukraine for a cameo role in a Russian comedy film. But on arrival, it seems that there’s been some confusion about his role. He had thought that he was playing Napoleon but it’s left to a member of the production team to break it to him that he’s actually just playing himself. Jean Claude says: “I thought I was playing Napoleon. Now they’re telling me that I play Van Damme. I thought I was playing Napoleon.” Then he finds out that his character has to lose a fight… 

Sitting in make up in his Napoleonic costume, Jean Claude says: “I don’t see Sly or Stephen Segal doing this. Maybe Arnold would do it.” 

While Jean Claude’s work takes him around the world – his wife Gladys is based in Los Angeles and his schedule means they can be apart for months at a time. But no matter where they are in the world, they talk almost every day. Gladys says: “Thanks for Skype, I just love it. I think [it’s] been a saviour for a lot of families.” 

In Romania, Jean Claude’s son Kris and daughter Bianca have a day off from filming – and are heading to a local vet to look after their new dog Lucky. And when Jean Claude next has a break from the film, he flies with the newest member of the Van Damme family to Brussels. Rescued from Bucharest on the brink of death – and brought back to the safety of Jean Claude’s dog sanctuary, Lucky joins another eight dogs who have also been saved from all over the world. 

A happy Jean Claude gives Lucky her first run on a beach and says to her: “My bubba, I told you you were going to see freedom. Allez! Enjoy the beach, come on!”

Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 9:00PM – 10:05PM

This new series sees cricketing legend and ultimate bloke Freddie Flintoff try his hand at some of the most extreme sports and challenges on offer around the world. But, ever the competitive sportsman, he won’t be trying anything out without turning it into a competition so he’s also enlisted other former athletes who reached the top of their game to see if they can beat him. Against opponents that include Dennis Rodman, Iwan Thomas and Dennis Wise, Freddie challenges himself at extreme events including skeleton bob, wing walking and rodeo bull riding. 

In this third episode, Freddie takes on former England World Cup winning rugby player Kyran Bracken. Bracken may have conquered the world at rugby, but can he and his cricketing counterpart conquer the traditions of Texas as the pair get set to tackle western riding, test each other’s wit in a Wild West shootout, and risk life and limb as they take on a bull ride at a traditional Texan rodeo. 

The boys meet on a ranch for their first task, and meet their cowboy mentors. Joe explains the injuries he’s acquired on the ranch: “I broke my tailbone, sprained my rotator cuff, broke my arm once, been kicked a time or two, torn up knees.” 

The boys are introduced to their horses, Freddie’s named G-String and Kyran’s Rooster, and immediately notice a particular part of their anatomy. Freddie says:“He’s a big ‘un, ain’t he. I’ve lost me trail of thought here now!” 

Joke’s over and the boys are ready for their first job on the ranch, separating a calf from its mother while on a horse….After some frantic riding, the calf is finally on its own, only to catch the interest of a donkey. Freddie says: “No! Get off him! No, no! You’re a donkey! No! What do you get if you mix them two? A cow-donk?” 

The next day the boys are awoken with a traditional Texan cowboy coffee, but Kyran admits he “doesn’t do coffee” so Freddie is the only one to tackle the special camp brew, which eventually earns him the first point of the competition for showing he is the ‘real cowboy’. 

In between tasks the boys find time for their first practice run in preparation for the big finale of the competition, the bull ride. Freddie has second thoughts after seeing a pro in action for the first time, admitting: “I’m not sure if I can do this.” 

But they’re given some pointers from the 10th best bull-rider in the world, and get some useful advice whilst on a mechanical bull, dubbed RoboBull. But it isn’t long before they take on their first test run on a real bull, with Kyran up first. He says: “I feel like I’m about to go out and face the All Blacks. I wanna get it over and done with.” He lasts an impressive six seconds, as Freddie prepares for his go. “I’d be lying to say now that nerves aren’t taking over, ‘cos they are. I’m pretty nervous. I’m very nervous.” He is thrown to the ground in just half a second: “I just got dumped. I don’t wanna do it. Once is enough.” 

But with Freddie one up, the pair head onto their next challenge – the Texan shootout. The first of three rounds is The Bullet Factory, where they have 24 bullets to hit 24 targets in the quickest time. ‘Fast Hands Fred’ is up first, and manages to miss no targets, however the ‘Ice Dancing Kid’, as Kyran decides to be known in Texas, finishes in a much quicker time but misses seven targets. He explains: “The ones I missed, they were hostages.” Freddie takes the point in round one. 

But in round two, Kyran keeps the competition alive with a good time and no targets missed, so the contest goes on to a final deciding round. This is a head to head shootout, with the first to hit all targets being awarded the vital second point in the competition. Freddie thinks he’s won when he finishes before his competitor, but it’s Kyran who hits the most targets so he is handed the equalising point, and Freddie isn’t happy with the judging, saying: “You’ll have to see that on playback. I think your glasses steamed up.” 

With the boys level on one point each, it’s all down to the decider, and on to a sport in which people have been known to die – a dangerous rodeo style bull-ride. They spend the evening before the big day watching the pros in a real rodeo event, and Freddie airs his fears: “I really don’t think I’m going to be able to do this. I’m bricking it. It’s hardcore.” 

He admits: “This morning I’ve been laying in bed, dozing in and out of sleep and all I can think about is bulls…It’s not so much getting on one which is bothering me, it’s more getting off one, and getting off one safe.” 

Kyran confesses: “This is properly scary, I mean this is real scary this, and, to see them bucking just before they go out…May the best man win, but I just hope both of us come out alive.” 

The build up is finally over, and it’s time for the sporting legends to face up to their fears and take the ride of their lives. It’s Kyran’s turn first, and he survives an impressive 3.3 seconds before being launched to the ground by the angry bull. “I was off pretty quick wasn’t I? I’m alive. I’m alive.” 

Freddie’s bull charges out of the pen with the helpless cricketer on top. He is thrown to the ground in what seems an instant and he quickly runs back to safety. It’s over in a flash and Freddie reflects on an emotional rollercoaster of a task: “For all the nerves, all the adrenaline, everything, that was class! That was class! It was unbelievable! I wanna go again. What a buzz.” 

The point goes down to the wire as Freddie records a time of 3.4 seconds, crowning him the champion of Texas by the skin of his teeth. 

Freddie says: “I’ve experienced emotions I’ve never had before. The adrenaline, the fear, the pain. I got into a place that I’ve never been to in my life before.” 

Kyran says: “Oh it’s been amazing, I mean herding cattle, meeting some incredible people, shooting, and bull riding most of all. I never thought I’d experience anything like this in my life.” 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011, 9:00PM – 10:00PM

This new series sees cricketing legend and ultimate bloke Freddie Flintoff try his hand at some of the most extreme sports and challenges on offer around the world. But, ever the competitive sportsman, he won’t be trying anything out without turning it into a competition so he’s also enlisted other athletes who retired at the top of their game to see if they can beat him. Against opponents that include Dennis Rodman, Iwan Thomas and Dennis Wise, Freddie challenges himself at extreme events including skeleton bob, wing walking and rodeo bull riding. 

In this first episode, Freddie challenges his former England cricket team mate, and the country’s all time leading one day wicket taker, Darren Gough to take on three contests in the depths of Mexico. England cricket might be on a high at the moment, but can this pair handle paintball paragliding, lucha libre wrestling and the final challenge of throwing themselves off some very high cliffs with the divers of Acapulco? 

Freddie meets Darren at Mexico airport and the pair embarks on a spot of sightseeing as Darren reveals why he chose a cricketing career over being a tour guide. He says: “Mexico is like, really really old, I’m sure lots of Mexicans like living here. Oh look at this, this is quite impressive. This is impressive. Impressive, this.”

Leaving the cultural experiences of Mexico City behind them, the pair head to Acapulco to meet veteran cliff diver and diving coach Angel. Cliff diving is one of Acapulco’s most famous traditions. When the divers hit the water, they’re moving at over sixty miles an hour. Without proper training, and perfect timing, this can cause anything from a nasty headache to death. Angel takes the boys up to the dive point and another diver gives them a demonstration. Darren admits: “Well I can’t even walk up the ledge, never mind jump over. Fred, I think you’ve got this one in the bag!” 

But before they tackle the cliffs, Freddie and Darren take on each other in the completely made up and a bit mental sport of paintball paragliding. The idea is to fly about in the sky armed to the teeth. They’ll then shoot at each other and the winner will be whoever gets the most hits. After a couple of attempts both men make it off the ground but Freddie has some trouble with his gun and is a sitting target for Darren. Floating aimlessly he says: “He’s getting us! I’ve been shot in the finger – bastard! Me gun’s knackered now, and I’m just floating 6,000 feet above Mexico.” 

With Darren one result up, the boys’ next challenge is lucho libre wrestling, which is extremely popular in Mexico. It’s a serious and painful business, with wrestlers suffering severe injuries. Freddie and Darren will be fighting on opposing tag teams alongside pro wrestlers in front of a big crowd. The winner of the bout will win the challenge. Under the tutelage of Horus, one of the country’s leading wrestlers, Freddie and Darren learn the basics. Recovering after training Freddie says: “They were pushing against us. You know that submission hold that’s sore! I’m not sure how much acting that is. I’ll be honest I’m a bit apprehensive about tomorrow now.” 

But the next day Freddie suffers a setback and his physio sends him to the hospital for an x-ray. The x-ray reveals he’s aggravated an old injury and won’t be able to take part in the wrestling challenge that evening. He says: “I’m gutted. It’s like l never expected this. You get all these injuries playing cricket and this is the first day and I’ve fractured a rib. I’m gutted about it, I’m embarrassed as well. It’s just gutting.” 

While he can’t actually fight, Freddie still joins his tag team ringside and gets kitted out in the traditional spandex outfit. But as Darren takes his place in the ring, Freddie finds the atmosphere in the crowd almost as intimidating. He says: “I think I’m going to beat up by that fella in crowd. Bloody hell fire, listen to it. Listen to it!” 

Despite struggling to beat Freddie’s team the fact Darren took part in the wrestling when Freddie couldn’t, means he wins the Lucha Libre challenge and he’s brought back to the ring for a victory speech. Freddie says: “This is priceless, it’s like the end of a Rocky film. I’d like to thank you Mexico. It’s brilliant!” 

Their final challenge is cliff jumping and, after a worried night’s sleep, Freddie and Darren meet Angel to begin their training. Darren and Freddie will compete against each other by diving and jumping from the cliffs. Whoever goes highest will win. As it’s the most extreme challenge of the lot, the winner will be awarded two points. 

Freddie says: “So you’re going to dive into there head first, and you don’t know what you’re going into! It’s stupid! My ticker’s going boom boom boom.” 

After two early dives, the lads are even so Angel takes them to the next ledge ten metres up. Psyching himself up Freddie says: “Just give me one second, I’m alright, I’m alright though. I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m fine – slightly flagging but fine.” 

Completing the jump, Freddie emerges triumphant and Darren will have to match him to stay in the competition. At first he says: “I might just give in and let him have this one.” But his competitive spirit gets the better of him and he conquers his fears. 

The winner is decided by the foolproof though slightly spurious system of a clapometer featuring a dozen speedo clad divers who name Freddie the winner. With the final challenge being worth two points it means his and Darren’s Mexican fiesta ends in a two all draw. 

Darren says: “I’m not lying when I say it’s been the craziest week I’ve ever had in my life!” 

Freddie says: “When I play cricket you get adrenaline, you get the rush of doing it. But when you retire you’re not sure if you’re going to get that again, but today I’ve experienced that tenfold. I’ve never experienced fear, excitement, nerves, adrenaline like that in my life before!”

Thursday, 19 August 2010, 5:30PM – 7:45PM on ITV4

Angus Scott presents live covearge of the UEFA Europa League play-off game between Rapid Vienna v Aston Villa.

Former Villa striker Dean Saunders joins Angus with commentary from Ian Dowie and Ian Crocker.

Monday, 12 October 2009, 10:00PM – 11:00PM

Dr. Helen Magnus (Amanda Tapping) continues her desperate search for her daughter, Ashley (Emilie Ullerup), who is still held prisoner by the Cabal.

Together, Magnus and John Druitt (Christopher Heyerdahl) interrogate their most elusive contacts around the globe in an attempt to find her and make sense of the Cabal’s plan.

Since being captured by the Cabal a few months before, Ashley has been undergoing a series of injections and tests resulting in a formidable and alarming transformation. Unbeknownst to the Sanctuary team, her painful and dangerous mutation sets in motion the next phase of the Cabal’s destructive mission.

When highly classified information is stolen from a top-secret Interpol location, Magnus is alerted. Will Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) investigates and is surprised to see that it is Ashley on the security tapes pulling off the heist single-handedly. Relieved in part that Ashley is at least still alive, Magnus, Will, Druitt, Henry (Ryan
Robbins) and Tesla (Jonathan Young) gather to make sense of this latest development and plan their next steps to bring her home.

Will finds a connection between the stolen Interpol information and an old case that involved genetic manipulation of five young orphans. Not yet sure how the pieces fit together, the team knows they need to locate the now adult orphans and keep them
from the Cabal. Will and Magnus locate the one remaining test subject not yet captured by the Cabal, and visit his home to bring him to the safety of the Sanctuary. They are greeted at the
house by a young woman who seems willing to accommodate them. But they quickly realize they’ve been tricked by a quick talking con-artist who is making a fast get away along with their rescue target. Will and Magnus make a swift pursuit. After a dangerous car chase, they corner the woman and force her from her van at gunpoint.

While they were able to capture her, she has somehow eluded them with the cargo and the ‘orphan’ is gone, undoubtedly en route to the Cabal.

In an angry interrogation, Magnus learns they are dealing with Kate Freelander (Agam Darshi), a thief-for-hire with connections to the Cabal. She’ll work for whatever side pays her the most and has made a good living eluding authorities and getting what she wants. Despite being under Henry’s watchful eye, she is able to make her escape. There’s no mistaking she’s good at what she does.

Feeling temporarily defeated, the team heads back to the Sanctuary to piece together the new information they have gathered. They start making connections between the orphans, Ashley’s disappearance and the Cabal’s mysterious ultimate goal.
Kate, meanwhile, makes contact with Cabal leader Dana Whitcomb (Lynda Boyd), demanding payment for her work. But Dana has no intention of paying Kate what she’s owed. In fact for allowing herself to be caught, albeit temporarily by Magus, Kate
realizes she is now an enemy of the Cabal and her life is in immediate danger.

Wounded from a violent clash with Cabal agents, Kate is forced to seek refuge at the Sanctuary. Magnus treats her injuries, but shows her no patience and presses for more information on the Cabal and Ashley’s whereabouts. Aware that she is no longer safe outside of the Sanctuary, Kate relents and gives them the location of one of the Cabal’s facilities. The team quickly assembles to infiltrate the location in the hope of bringing Ashley home. Teleported there by Druitt, they instead find themselves in a completely empty
warehouse. Suddenly, Ashley appears. But she’s not the Ashley they know. Void of any emotion, she goes on the attack and the team realizes that they are dealing with a force far more powerful than they could have ever imagined. About to be killed the new Super Abnormal Ashley, they quickly retreat and teleport back to the Sanctuary. They now painfully understand that this “new” Ashley is under the control of the Cabal and is the pivotal force behind their catastrophic plan to bring down the Sanctuary

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