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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 16:22 GMT
This week's TV: All Change
William Gallagher
William Gallagher looks at TV's musical chairs
By the BBC's William Gallagher

You wonder whether these people have homes to go to as in this week's small flooding of new programmes, actors, writers and presenters are all popping up in unexpected places.

The most high-profile, although only because of the BBC's huge advertising campaign, is Liza Tarbuck in Linda Green (continues Tuesday 6 November 2100 GMT BBC One).

Watching

She has acted before and a lot - chiefly in the sitcom Watching - but we have become more used to seeing her now as a Blockbusters presenter so it's a surprise to see how good she is.

And almost a revelation to hear how good she is singing in the part.

But if Tarbuck is not really as new to acting as we imagine, Linda Green's writer is certainly better known - and so far just better - for harsher, more involving drama such as Cracker and Clocking Off.

He did get to Linda by way of the poorly received romantic comedy Best of Both Worlds last year, though, so you can trace the steps.


Friday Night with Jonathan Ross is an attempt to duplicate Ross's current very good BBC Radio 2 Saturday morning series

Similarly you can easily see that Friday Night with Jonathan Ross (Friday 2 November 2235 GMT BBC One) is just a descendent of his 1980s The Last Resort - but you would be wrong about that.

It is much more an attempt to duplicate Ross's current BBC Radio 2 Saturday morning series (1000-1300 GMT, 88-92FM) which is a popular and very good series whose appeal is really just down to the man being likeable on the radio.

Affable

Whether or not that can easily transfer to television is another matter - Ross is no stranger to TV but the gentle, affable style of his radio show is.

Yet there are still greater moves going on in this week's musical chairs on television as ITV1's My Beautiful Son (Wednesday 7 November, 2110 GMT) pairs Julie Walters with a man you may not have heard of.

The star of that show is Paul Reiser, the extremely talented US sitcom writer and actor - he co-created and with Helen Hunt co-starred in Mad About You - and he is good, but what you should be looking at is those letters U and S.

For we seem to have a little new trend with US actors coming to the UK.

David Soul
David Soul began a trend for US actors to join UK shows when he guest-starred in Holby City
David Soul guest-starred in Holby City for instance, less well known here than him but more well known here so far than Reiser, Star Trek's (UK-born) Marina Sirtis appeared in Casualty and Homicide: Life on the Street's Michelle Forbes did a turn as mute in the serial killer story Messiah.

One such role suggests a US actor with a fading career but four of them make a genre.

What next? The Sopranos (Thursday 8 November 2235 GMT Channel 4) lead actor James Gandolfini guest-starring in ITV1's Night and Day soap?

If he did, you can presume it would not be in the soap's daytime slot (Tuesdays-Thursdays 1705 GMT) but its late-night "sexy remix" omnibus on Thursdays at 2220 GMT.)

See also:

31 Oct 01 | TV and Radio
Linda Green trumps Barrymore
20 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
The Sopranos given 'right to sing'
10 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Ross agrees BBC deal
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