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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 16:51 GMT
Piper headlines new ITV schedule
Billie Piper and Rupert Penry-Jones
The Austen season will feature adaptations of Persuasion and Emma
Billie Piper, Catherine Tate and Christopher Eccleston are among the stars headlining ITV1's winter season.

Johnny Vegas and Keith Allen also feature in a schedule that "aims high, takes risks and is less predictable", said director of TV, Simon Shaps.

Richard Madeley fronts "prime-time big money series" Fortune, which sees the public battle to win a share of 1m funded by successful business people.

Jeffrey Archer and Dragon's Den star Duncan Bannatyne are among the judges.

Ann Summers founder Jacqueline Gold, Crystal Palace chairman and owner Simon Jordan and the MOBO Awards founder Kanya King complete the panel of real-life millionaires who will decide which contestants most deserve the prize money.

Comedy

Mr Shaps promised "the return of prime-time comedy to ITV1", with Catherine Tate starring in The Bad Mother's Handbook, an adaptation of the best-selling novel, and fellow comic Johnny Vegas in new comedy Benidorm.

Lisa Tarbuck stars is a series called Bonkers, about people obsessed with sex, and comedian Al Murray hosts his own prime time chatshow, Al Murray's Happy Hour.

Maxine Peake and John Henshaw
Confessions Of A Diary Secretary stars John Henshaw and Maxine Peake

Meanwhile, Confessions Of A Diary Secretary takes a "saucy look" at the affair between Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and his diary secretary Tracey Temple.

On the drama front, former Doctor Who actress Billie Piper stars in a forthcoming Jane Austen season and ex-Doctor Christopher Eccleston stars in thriller Perfect Parents.

Singer Hannah Spearritt stars alongside Douglas Henshall in new six-part drama Primeval, which follows a team of government scientists investigating the reappearance of extinct creatures.

ITV1 has been struggling with falling revenue, advertising sales and viewing figures but has been boosted by the recent success of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here.


SEE ALSO
Piper and Lucas top BBC Christmas
22 Nov 06 |  Entertainment
High ratings for Catherine Tate
27 Oct 06 |  Entertainment
ITV rejects merger move from NTL
21 Nov 06 |  Business
ITV shares slide on uncertainty
20 Nov 06 |  Business

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