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    Coronation Street

    Coronation Street

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    ITV
    Coronation Street is credited as being one of the longest running soaps in the world and the longest running television soap in Britain (with the longest running overall being The Archers on BBC radio). The show has been on British TV screens since 1960 and has aired over 6,000 episodes. Coronation Street was created by Tony Warren, who drew on his own experiences living in Salford when developing the show for Granada Television in Manchester. The show's working title was Florizel Street. In a memo from Tony Warren to Granada, he explains the basis of the show: "A fascinating freemasonary, a volume of unwritten rules. These are the driving forces behind life in a working class street in the north of England. The purpose of Florizel Street is to examine a community of this nature, and to entertain." The first episode of Coronation Street, written by Tony Warren and containing the first airing of the iconic theme music (composed by Eric Spear), was transmitted live at 7.00pm on Friday 9th December 1960 and was an instant success due to its eliment of "realism". The series began as a twice weekly serial (airing originally on Wednesdays and Fridays) and was initially only commissioned for twelve episodes but due to the series' success with the viewers it became a perminant fixture, soon changing its transmission days to Monday and Wednesdays. Almost 30 years later the number of episodes increased to three per week in 1989 (additional episode on Fridays) and then to four in 1996 (additional episode on Sundays). Recently that has increased again with a second episode being added on a Monday night at 8.30, leaving a half hour gap between the end of the first episode of the evening and the start of the second. Coronation Street, Corrie or The Street (however you know it) has been at the top of the ratings for most of it's long run and despite tough competition from new soaps and even new TV channels it remains the highest rated programme on British television. William Roache is now the only original cast member remaining - he's played Ken Barlow since episode one. The Set: In early 1960, after Granada Television commissioned twelve episodes of Coronation Street, the set designer Denis Parkin was taken on a tour of Salford by series creator Tony Warren for inspiration on the set. The street's set was based on Archie Street in the Ordsall district, a film shot of which was used in the opening credits of the programme from 1960 to 1964. Archie Street itself was knocked down in 1971. The original television set was built indoors, the cobbles and paving slabs were painted to the floor and the houses were made out of wood. The set was so big and the studio so small that it had to be erected in two parts which explains why shots of the entire street were not seen until 1968 when Granada decided that the interior set was too limiting and so re-erected the set outside in a yard rented from British Railways on Grape Street on Manchester, behind the Granada studios. The cast hated it! They complained that it was draughty and cold; nevertheless it was soon re-built in bricks and mortar and survived until the end of the 1970s when the decision was made to incorporate the set into the Granada Studios Tour. By 1982 a brand new set had been erected on a new site just a few hundred yards away. When the set was complete it was opened by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. The new set was first seen on-screen in episode 2210, broadcast on Monday 7 June 1982. From 1982 up until 1999, it was possible for fans of the show to visit the exterior set as part of the Granada Studios Tour. With the closure of the tour, Granada were able to expanded the exterior set to incorporate further buildings on Rosamund Street (the Health Centre) and later on Victoria Street (Roy's Rolls & Elliot and Son). Coronation Street currently airs on the following days in the UK: Monday @ 7.30pm & 8.30pm, Wednesday @ 7.30pm, Friday @ 7.30pm, Sunday @ 7.30pm. Note: This episode guide mirrors the episode numbers that are used by Granada Television. These, in turn, are based on the episode production numbers. On the odd occasion over the years these have proven to be slightly haphazard. To explain; the first episode of the programme was production code P228/1, the second P228/2, etc. In 1970, the production team reached episode 999 with the episode that was broadcast on Wednesday 19th August that year. The next episode, the 1000th, was not given the production code of P228/1000 but instead was given the new production code of P694 and the number 1! (To confuse matters more, Granada also publicised episode 999 as the 1000th episode!). The actual 1000th episode was therefore known as episode P694/1. As the seventies went on, two episodes (P694/26 and P694/27) were edited down into one half-hour episode, supposedly because Doris Speed - playing Annie Walker - was ill, and four episode numbers were not used at all - P694/503, P694/504, P694/505 and P694/549. You will therefore not find episodes 1503, 1504, 1505 or 1549 in this guide - because they were never made! When the 4000th episode was broadcast in April 1996, Granada's production codes skipped from P694/2999 to P694/4000, thereby mirroring better the actual episode number being shown and publicised. The fact remains though that other episode numbers have been skipped or counted as double episodes and therefore the publicity over episodes such as number 6000 in 2005 are a few episodes out. This is no big secret and, on occasion, comments have appeared in the UK press about this anomoly.moreless
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    Downton Abbey

    Downton Abbey

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    Downton Abbey is an PBS drama set in 1912 about the Crawley household. It is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, and Elizabeth McGovern.
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    Doc Martin

    Doc Martin

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    Martin Clunes stars in comedy-drama Doc Martin, as a doctor whose truculence and tactless manner causes mayhem in a small Cornish community. Martin plays surgeon Martin Ellingham, whose glittering career comes crashing down around him when he develops a phobia which prevents him conducting operations. He makes a life changing decision to retrain as a GP, and applies for a vacant post in the sleepy Cornish hamlet of Portwenn, where he spent childhood holidays. If the patients are expecting tea and sympathy from their curmudgeonly GP they are going to be disappointed. Despite his surgical brilliance, he has no personal skills, and his understanding of humans is practically non existent. Martin is joined by a prestigious cast which includes Eileen Atkins as his Aunt Ruth. Caroline Catz stars as primary school headmistress Louisa Glasson, who Martin is attracted to - but his hopelessness with people ensures that the pat to true love will not be smooth...moreless
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    Heartbeat

    Heartbeat

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    ITV (ended 2010)
    Heartbeat is set in the 1960s, in the fictional Yorkshire town of Aidensfield. The first seasons focus on the lives of London policeman Nick Rowan, who moves to the village with his doctor wife Kate. Nick's police colleagues feature in the series, under the leadership of the crusty but kindhearted Sergeant Blaketon. Blaketon's nemesis is Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, poacher and occasional small-time fence. Greengrass is a regular patron of the Aidensfield Arms hotel, run by George Ward and his pretty niece Gina. It's here at the pub that we see much of the day-to-day social interaction in the series. Heartbeat is based on the Constable books by Nicholas Rhea.

    There have been a load of Heartbeat coppers over the years. They are listed below:

    Sgt Oscar Blaketon PC Alf Ventress PC Phil Bellamy PC/Sgt Nick Rowan PC/DC Mike Bradley Sgt Raymond Craddock PC Tom Nicholson Sgt Dennis Merton PC Steve Crane Sgt George Miller PC Rob Walker PC Geoff Younger

    The musical theme, originally performed by Buddy Holly, is performed here by original show star Nick Berry.moreless
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    Law & Order: UK

    Law & Order: UK

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    The longest-running crime series in U.S. television history has made its way across the pond for a UK reworking. Series creator Dick Wolf has given Law & Order a makeover-for fans in the UK. Law & Order: UK sets out to retain the grittiness of the original series, but be uniquely British. The show commenced broadcast in 2009 and is not to be confused with the 1978 crime drama Law and Order.moreless
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    The Bletchley Circle

    The Bletchley Circle

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    ITV
    This drama continues the story of four women who were involved in cracking The Enigma Code in World War Two and their lives after the war. Years later Susan, now a housewife and mother sees a pattern forming from news reports on the serial killings of women. After being dismissed by the police after giving them her theories, she contacts three other ladies with whom she used to work in Bletchley and together they investigate the murders.moreless
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    The Bill

    The Bill

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    ITV (ended 2010)
    Welcome to The Bill guide at TV.com. The Bill recounts the goings-on within and around Sun Hill, a Metropolitan Police Station located in the fictional Borough of Canley, in east London. Running for over 25 years, The Bill was Britain's longest running police drama series, finally outstripping Dixon of Dock Green on 10 August 2005. It adapted to meet the challenges of the highly competitive world of independent television, evolving from a standard post-watershed police procedural drama, through a period as a twice- and, later, thrice-weekly early evening ratings grabber with stand-alone plots, then as a twice-weekly one-hour drama with ongoing soap-style exploration of the troubled personal lives of its police officers. The Bill reverted to a once a week, post-watershed drama on 23 July 2009, but ITV decided not to renew the show when the contract came up for renewal the following year. The Bill is not your average cop show, but rather an extraordinary police drama that brings each episode to the audience through the eyes of the characters. An excellent cast, supported by some of the country's leading writers and directors and some innovative camera work gives an incredible sense of realism. Other police dramas have been created in an attempt to mirror its conventions and match its success, but none has lasted. The Bill truly deserves its accolade as Britain's most successful police drama.moreless
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    Midsomer Murders

    Midsomer Murders

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    Welcome to the Midsomer Murders guide at TV.com. This English crime drama series, based on books by Caroline Graham, is filmed mostly in the villages and towns of the rural counties of Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. John Nettles played Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby of Causton CID, a laconic, down-to-earth detective who faced many ingenious and remarkable murders — usually several in each episode — amid the eccentric denizens of Middle England. Barnaby's partners in detection were Sergeants Gavin Troy (Daniel Casey), Dan Scott (John Hopkins) and Ben Jones (Jason Hughes). Other regulars included Tom's wife Joyce (Jane Wymark) and his daughter Cully (Laura Howard). In 2011, Nettles left the show, and Tom Barnaby was replaced by his cousin, DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon). Midsomer Murders has been sold to more than 200 countries around the world. The show is made by Bentley Productions for ITV.moreless
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    Agatha Christie's Poirot

    Agatha Christie's Poirot

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    ITV (ended 2013)
    Welcome to the Poirot guide at TV.com. This is a British series which brings to life Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, played by David Suchet, whose sleuthing for the purposes of this series belongs in the mid-1930s. Based in London, with the very English Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) as his Dr Watson, Poirot's field of operations ranges around the world. The series has strong story lines, good production and acting, and a real period flavour. Poirot won two BAFTA awards in 1990, then had more BAFTA nominations as Best Drama Series in 1991 and 1992. All of Agatha Christie's seventy-two Poirot stories were produced with David Suchet as Poirot, and the show has been broadcast in more than one hundred countries around the world.moreless
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    Foyle's War

    Foyle's War

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    ITV
    Welcome to the Foyle's War guide at TV.com.

    Touted as the new Inspector Morse, this ITV detective show stars Michael Kitchen as a police inspector frustrated at being stuck at home investigating provincial crimes during the second world war.

    Honeysuckle Weeks is an inspired choice as Foyle's sidekick, a clergyman's daughter posted from the Women's Royal Army Corps to serve as his driver, and she plays the part with an admirable period charm.

    Foyle's War opened in southern England in the year 1940 - which may seem a strangely remote period in which to place a new detective, but the setting turned out to be a means of adding moral and dramatic depth to the storylines. The series covered the war years, and eventually saw Foyle recruited by MI5 in the aftermath of the war. Foyle's War was a Greenlit production for ITV. The eighth series was an Eleventh Hour production for ITV.moreless
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    Endeavour

    Endeavour

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    ITV
    A prequel to Inspector Morse, Endeavour was conceived as a one-off drama marking the 25th anniversary of the launch of the original show in 1987. Shaun Evans played the younger Endeavour Morse in a story in which we discovered what shaped the great detective, and where he got his love for crosswords, classical music, real ale and classic cars. Following the success of the film, ITV decided to commission a full series. Endeavour Morse is a Mammoth Screen production for ITV.moreless
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    Mr. Selfridge

    Mr. Selfridge

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    Mr. Selfridge is a new British period drama staring Entourage star Jeremy Piven as the flamboyant Harry Gordon Selfridge. Selfridge was an American-born retail tycoon who founded the popular British department store of the same name.moreless
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    Broadchurch

    Broadchurch

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    David Tennant and Olivia Colman lead the cast in this powerful new detective series. A small community in Dorset is rocked by the death of local boy Danny Latimer and DI Alec Hardy (Tennant) is drafted in to head up the investigation instead of local officer DS Ellie Miller (Colman).
    As the investigation proceeds, the lives of the locals - from the Latimer family, to priest Paul Coates and mysterious Susan Wright are explored as they deal with the life changing events.moreless
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    Taggart

    Taggart

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    ITV (ended 2010)
    Welcome to the Taggart guide at TV.com. In the early 1980s, Robert Love, Controller of Drama at Scottish Television, and Glenn Chandler, pathologist-turned-writer, created a Glaswegian police detective named Jim Taggart, a creation that resulted in a world-wide successful television drama that lasted for twenty-seven years. Over the course of 110 stories the series, which followed the exploits of Maryhill CID, continued to win over viewers old and new despite major changes in the cast which caused most in the business to write it off. From the pilot broadcast, "Killer", to the final episode, the show presented more grizzly murders and plot twists than even the most ardent of fans can remember. Its film noir quality, along with the stunning setting of Glasgow, the second city of the empire, helped it remain a success even after the death of the titular character. The excellent cast, both past and present, have provided characters that have become much loved and remain in the hearts of fans even after their departure. This guide is dedicated to the memories of Mark McManus, Iain Anders, Robert Robertson and Tom Watson. Taggart was made by Scottish Television (later Scottish Media Group) Productions and broadcast on the ITV network across the UK. In 2010, with ITV assessing their output due to financial issues, the show was at risk of being cancelled. The two broadcasters agreed a co-production arrangement for the next series, which was broadcast first on STV, and later aired in the rest of the UK on ITV1. However, despite the new format and the series' continuing popularity in Scotland, viewing figures across the rest of the UK were disappointing, and ITV announced in May 2011 that it had decided not to commission any further series.moreless
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    Scott & Bailey

    Scott & Bailey

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    Welcome to the Scott & Bailey guide at TV.com. In Scott & Bailey we follow the professional and personal lives of Detective Constables Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott, part of Manchester Metropolitan Police's Major Incident Team, as they track down killers and uncover their motives for murder. Scott & Bailey was created by Diane Taylor and Sally Wainwright, and is a Red Production for ITV.moreless
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    DCI Banks

    DCI Banks

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    DCI Banks is a detective series based on the award-winning novels by Peter Robinson. A two-part pilot, Aftermath, introduced viewers to the tenacious DCI Alan Banks and his associate, DS Annie Cabbot, as they investigated a serial killer. A second series saw DI Helen Morton introduced as Cabbot's replacement. Each of the two-part stories is adapted from an original DCI Banks novel. DCI Banks is a Left Bank Pictures production for ITV.moreless
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    Emmerdale

    Emmerdale

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    Emmerdale first screened on ITV on the 16th of October 1972, which makes it one of the longest running soaps in British Television History.
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    Lewis

    Lewis

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    ITV
    A spin-off of the popular series Inspector Morse, a special two-hour drama picked up five years after the series ended.Kevin Whately returned as Lewis after working overseas in the Virgin Islands. Partnered with Hathaway, a young Cambridge graduate fast-tracked through the police, Lewis is once more investigating in Morse's old stomping ground of Oxford. Echoes of Morse follow his investigations as Lewis lends his own to proceedings. A full series followed. While both Lewis and Hathaway left the poice force at the end of season 7, ITV has confirmed in 2014 that an eighth series has been commissioned.moreless
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    Whitechapel

    Whitechapel

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    ITV (ended 2013)
    Welcome to the Whitechapel guide at TV.com. DI Joseph Chandler, a police officer on the fast track, is assigned to Whitechapel CID. In his first big murder investigation, the man Chandler was after was no ordinary killer; he was copying the murders committed by Jack the Ripper in the 1880s. With the help of self-proclaimed Ripperologist Edward Buchan and DS Ray Miles, Chandler sought to catch the killer before he emulated Jack's final kill, never to be seen again. In the second story, the team trailed a serial killer who appeared to be targeting people who had crossed the Kray twins, gangsters who dominated the East End in the 1950s and 1960s. In subsequent investigations, the detectives were confronted with several bizarre murders, each of which emulated horrors from the distant past. Whitechapel was a Carnival films production for ITV.moreless
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    Vera

    Vera

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    ITV
    Brenda Blethyn headlines ITV's new detective drama as workaholic Detective Chief Inspector Stanhope. The TV series is adapted from the Vera Stanhope novels by Ann Cleeves.
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