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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 15:33 GMT
Host Rantzen looks for date on TV
Esther Rantzen
Esther Rantzen was married to programme maker Desmond Wilcox
Presenter Esther Rantzen is looking for a date with the help of BBC Two programme Would Like To Meet.

The special episode of the series is part of BBC Two's new season of programmes for Spring and Summer.

Ms Rantzen lost her husband of 22 years - the documentary maker Desmond Wilcox - four years ago.

She told BBC News Online that she was appearing on the programme as a "bit of fun" and was "not looking for someone to replace her husband".

"I would like to meet someone, but who, and why, and how, I really don't know," the 63-year-old presenter said.

"Perhaps the programme could teach me."

She added: "But no-one could ever replace Desmond."

The Would Like To Meet special is part of The Time of Your Life, a series of BBC Two programmes devoted to "challenging perspectives and attitudes to growing older".


The channel wants to tackle viewers' preconceptions on issues such as disability, age and the rehabilitation of offenders as it approaches its 40th anniversary in April.

New series Trading Ages will use prosthetics and make-up to examine what it is like growing old in the UK.

It draws inspiration from 2002 series Trading Races, which also used make-up and prosthetics to change places with another person, in this case swapping skin colour.

Producers say the new show will give two people a unique insight into how they will feel and look when they are elderly.

Rob Brydon in Marion and Geoff
Rob Brydon returns as Keith Barrett in a new role
"I aim to constantly surprise, engage and provoke the BBC Two audience and the range of programming we have on offer this spring/summer will deliver just that," said BBC Two controller Jane Root.

A show where real-life mentors try to keep criminals out of trouble also features in the new schedule.

Make Me Honest will focus on five ordinary members of the public mentoring five criminals over a six-month period.

None of the young repeat offenders have re-offended since filming began eight months ago.

The crime theme continues with Joe Penhall's adaptation of Jake Arnott's novel The Long Firm, starring Sir Derek Jacobi.


Heritage show Restoration, which saw viewers vote for the historic building they would like to see restored, is returning to the channel this spring.

Last year's series saw Manchester's Victoria Baths win funds for its renovation.

Pavarotti in a dress rehearsal in New York
Arena will look at the career of Pavarotti

Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin will be back to build a show garden for this year's Chelsea Flower Show and comedian Rob Brydon hosts a chat show about relationships.

Animated comedy series I Am Not An Animal will feature what are billed as the only six talking animals in the world, recently released from a vivisection centre by animal rights activists.

A programme dedicated to arts in the UK, The Culture Show, will make its debut.

Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon will look at the story behind the Elgin Marbles and how the Greek treasures ended up in London.

A production of Faust at the Royal Opera House will be shown live and the Arena documentary series examines the life of opera great Luciano Pavarotti as he nears retirement.

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