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 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 12:48 GMT
Switching on in 2003
Ronni Ancona
Ronni Ancona gets her first serious role

BBC News Online takes a sneak preview of the shows to be brought to British TV screens in 2003.

It is always the drama that you hear about first - drama is expensive and planned a long way ahead and the slate of shows for 2003 is no exception.

In production now for screening early to mid-2003 on BBC is The Key, an historical family epic starring Ronni Ancona in her first serious role.

Jane Asher
Jane Asher: Moves to Crossroads motel
But following the ratings failure of BBC's New Labour drama The Project, ITV must be fretting over its plans to show The Deal, a drama about Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown.

It explores the alleged claim that Brown stepped aside so Blair could have a clear run at the premiership.

Villainous owner

The first couple of months of 2003 will also see some familiar series returning but with new reasons to watch them.

The beleaguered ITV1 soap opera Crossroads has been revamped and all but recast, most notably with Jane Asher playing the new villainous owner.

Then Midsomer Murders, starring John Nettles as the murder-solving sleuth Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, is back for a new run starting on 3 January.

Tamsin Outhwaite
Tamsin Outhwaite: pilot of Red Cap was broadcast in 2002
One of its February episodes will be written Alan Plater, who is perhaps best known for The Beiderbecke Affair and Fortunes of War, and some of the most successful Dalziel and Pascoe episodes.

Soap stars are coming to the fore again in early 2003 - shock - including former EastEnder Tamzin Outhwaite who gets a series of military drama Red Cap on BBC.

And right from the start of January for six weeks we also get another former Albert Square resident, Martin Kemp, in police tale Serious and Organised for ITV, a love triangle shoot-'em-up.

Sex secrets

Channel 4 will bring several new dramas that are all looking very promising.

In January, it will show Buried, from the makers of The Cops and Between the Lines, set in a men's prison.

Expect a UK version of America's prison drama Oz, which has been shown on Channel 4 for several years.

Eddie Izzard
Eddie Izzard: To star with Joanne Whalley in sex secrets show
In February we are likely to be talking about the channel's 20 Things To Do Before You're 30, a 10-week drama that charts four friends approaching that age.

Then in March, add another 10 to your TV show title, as 40, a drama about sex secrets, screens starring Eddie Izzard and Joanne Whalley.

Back on ITV1, Sarah Lancashire stars in Sons and Lovers, adapted by Tipping the Velvet's Andrew Davies, while later in the year we get ER's Alex Kingston in Boudicca and Robbie Coltrane in The Planman.

Celebrity shares

The BBC will bring us Rehab - unsurprisingly, a drama about people in rehabilitation - and, probably from March, the one we have all been waiting for: the second run of 24.

Early in 2003 we are also going to get a new digital entertainment channel as BBC Choice is replaced by youth-orientated BBC Three.

One of its first programmes will be Celebdaq - a game version of the Nasdaq stock market in which you buy and sell shares in film and TV celebrities.

Son of God
Christopher Eccleston stars in Son of God
Then ITV1 has The Second Coming by Queer As Folk writer Russell T Davies, with Christopher Eccleston as the Son of God - a Manchester City football fan.

This year will also see the last series of comedy-drama series Cold Feet on ITV1 - although we've heard that before - and the first of The All New Harry Hill Show too.

From America, digital channel BBC Four is planning to air Curb Your Enthusiasm, a great and agonising Golden Globe-nominated comedy by and starring Larry David, co-creator of hit US comedy Seinfeld.

Audacious mission

More traditional run-of-the-mill family sitcom fare is the US show, Grounded for Life, which is coming to ITV1 soon.

Slobodan Milosevic
BBC Two is to chart the fall of Slobodan Milosevic
Meanwhile in February, Channel 4 launches Boys and Girls, a new battle of the sexes show produced by former TFI Friday presenter Chris Evans.

And from early in 2003, BBC Two will cover The Fall of Milosevic, charting his fall from power to his trial for war crimes.

Collision Course on the same channel will look at how little control we have over our lives when accidents have killed more people than war has.

And James Bulger's father Ralph gives what ITV1 says is his first interview about the murder of his son - a story which shocked the world.

The channel will also show Winton's Children, Britain's own Oskar Schindler, in which Nicholas Winton talks about his audacious mission in war-torn Europe which saw the safe evacuation of hundreds of Czechoslovakian children.

Looking ahead

Looking back



See also:

08 Oct 02 | Entertainment
05 Dec 02 | Entertainment
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