Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Thursday, 10 July 2008 15:46 UK

Heroes to air near to US premiere

By Neil Smith
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

The cast of Heroes
Heroes involves a group of characters with extraordinary abilities

The third series of sci-fi hit Heroes will be broadcast on BBC Two shortly after it is first shown in the US.

Each episode will be shown "hopefully within a week" of its premiere on US network NBC, the channel said at the launch of its autumn line-up.

Other highlights include The Fallen, a documentary remembering every British serviceman and woman who has died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Doctor Who's David Tennant, meanwhile, will be seen in a drama about Einstein.

Entitled Einstein and Eddington, the programme deals with the legendary scientist's relationship with a prominent British astrophysicist who championed his theories.

Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis plays Einstein to Tennant's Arthur Eddington in the period drama - the brainchild of Criminal Justice writer Peter Moffat.

'Confident'

Presenter James May will host James May's Big Ideas, a new series about cutting-edge technological advances.

According to BBC Two controller Roly Keating, this will not stop him joining Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond for a new series of Top Gear.

Andy Serkis and David Tennant
Serkis and Tennant play Einstein and Eddington respectively
Recent newspaper reports alleged May and Hammond were unhappy with Clarkson's latest pay deal, believed to be considerably more generous than theirs.

Keating said he was "extremely confident" the trio would be together this autumn to host their popular motoring show.

Other programmes announced at Thursday's launch in central London include Losing It - a two-part series in which comedian Griff Rhys Jones investigates why people lose their temper.

Oceans a "major" new series exploring life beneath the sea, co-presented by the grandson of famous ecologist Jacques Cousteau, while British Style Genius will look at homegrown fashion.

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott takes a personal look at the British class system in a two-part documentary.

'Passionate'

Other documentaries this autumn include The American Future - A History, in which historian Simon Schama offers his insights into the 2008 US Presidential election.

On the comedy front, viewers can look forward to The Cup, a "mockumentary" about an under-11s football team, and Beautiful People, starring Meera Syal of Goodness Gracious Me fame.

The BBC Two launch comes the same week as the BBC Trust's annual report, which raised concerns over the channel's current affairs output.

Keating said BBC Two was "passionate" about world affairs and had some "exciting" new formats in the pipeline.


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