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We start this week´s TV talk with a blast from the not too distant past, the 1970´s. Do you remember a film called Westworld? Where robot men and women are programmed to serve you for …Romance …Violence …Anything? That´s taken directly from the poster by the way. It starred Yul Brynner as The Gunslinger in a futuristic theme park where paying guests can pretend to be gunslingers in an artificial Wild West populated by androids. Well, remember it or not, the buzz from America this week is that HBO are set to bake a series based on the original novel by Michael Crichton starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris. Certainly set to be one for the science fiction fans and those looking for a little 70´s nostalgia, although it was a little scary in places.

On the subject of scary, Frankenstein is rearing his ugly head once again, this time in the form of a six-part period crime drama starring Sean Bean. “An evil that almost defies reason” is how the opening line introduces the concept of The Frankenstein Chronicles, described as a thrilling and terrifying re-imagining of the Frankenstein myth. Incorporating elements from the investigative and horror genres with an extraordinary hero at its centre, Inspector John Marlott, played by Mr Bean, (no, not THAT Mr Bean), it promises a terrifying journey in pursuit of a chilling and diabolical foe.

Set in Regency London in 1827, the drama’s opening sequences show the Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, following a successful operation by Thames River Police to apprehend a gang of opium smugglers, recruit Marlott. As he stands on the water’s edge contemplating the arrest of the smugglers, Marlott makes a shocking discovery. The body of a dead child is washed up on the shore and on further examination of the corpse he is horrified to discover it’s not actually a child but rather a crude assembly of body parts arranged in a grotesque parody of a human form. The mutilated child-like body leaves an indelible impression on Marlott and he finds himself unable to shake off the memory of what has happened that fateful night. Filming will begin in Northern Ireland in January.

On the subject of river banks, or in this case the Manchester Ship Canal, ITV have also confirmed another live episode of Coronation Street next year, which will be filmed at Coronation Street’s new state-of-the-art production base on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal overlooking MediaCity in Salford. The idea is to mark ITV’s 60 years on air and will broadcast in September. “We’re delighted to be marking ITV’s 60th anniversary with a live episode from Coronation Street’s brilliant new studios and set,” said Executive Producer Kieran Roberts. More details will be released nearer the time, but one thing we do know is that the man behind the Emmerdale live show will also be heading this broadcast, Coronation Street Producer Stuart Blackburn.

Sticking with the water theme of this week, although now it´s of the frozen kind, the BBC has announced a new natural history commission for BBC One, to be broadcast in 2015, called Snow Chick, an hour long special described as set to enchant and enthral viewers with a unique and heart-wrenching real life story about penguins. Obviously not trying to muscle in on the success of Monty the penguin, the show will feature both emperor penguins and the characterful and now famous Adélie penguins, Snow Chick will tell the story of an emperor penguin chick growing up in the coldest place on Earth in the middle of the Antarctic winter. Focusing on the vulnerable and charismatic penguin chick, the film will follow his adventures from the time he emerges from the egg to the moment he leaves for the sea as a boisterous adolescent, before auditioning for his sharp rise to fame as the star of a TV commercial. We may have made the last part up, but the rest is very true.

A little bit of comedy now and fans of Derek will be both pleased and disappointed to know that Ricky Gervais is returning to Channel 4 in the lead role, but it is for a one off Christmas special that will end the show once and for all. Hannah’s relationship with Tom blossoms, since he has found a new job close to home. Vicky finds her true calling in the care industry, whilst Kev realises the true meaning of family. Meanwhile Derek is still dating Tracey, all the while holding the Retirement Home together with his unique viewpoint on life. Ricky Gervais said “I did toy with a third series, particularly after the Emmy nod, but I decided to stick to my usual formula of 2 series and a special. It’s a bittersweet experience as always. I’m sorry to end it but I know that leaving something you love and starting something else is always the best thing to do creatively”.

Finally, you might remember us talking about children being asked to design a computer game that the BBC will develop into an application for tablet computers. Well, a 12 year old boy from Hampshire named Alex has been announced as the winner of the CBBC Appsolute Genius competition, after judging took place at Buckingham Palace with Alex´s ‘slimetastic’ snail game coming out on top. Well done to Alex, we look forward to your game in the future.

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