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At the top of the hour; PICK OF THE DAY.

Byline: JANE SIMON

THE HOUR BBC2, 9pm

IT'S the 1950s and revolution is afoot at the BBC. A spoiled young man in a suit is moaning that "the newsreel is dead", and he thinks he is the man to shake up tV news by making it more, er, newsy.

This handsome new drama series from Abi Morgan (Sex Traffic) layers the behind-the-scenes bitching of a TV newsroom with a tale of unrequited love and then, for good measure, throws in a cloak and dagger conspiracy.

Perhaps that's why this first episode is a bit hard to get into - each time you think you know what kind of drama this is, it turns out to be something else.

And although the furniture looks authentic enough, you never really understand what's so wrong with TV news as it is, or rather, was.

In its favour it has an eye-catching cast. Romola Garai, who was so mesmerising in The Crimson Petal And The White, plays Bel Rowley, who has just been given the job of producing the BBC's hard-hitting new programme The Hour.

Dominic West plays Hector Madden, the presenter chosen for his matinee idol good looks and charm - just like William Hurt's character in the movie Broadcast News - to which this owes a debt.

Ben Whishaw plays ambitious journalist Freddie Lyon. He's the bloke at the start complaining that the news is all about debutantes. But by the end of this hour, he'll have realised that even debs have hidden depths.

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WE LOVE SCIENCE

RICHARD HAMMOND'S JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE PLANET BBC1, 9pm

TV'S most jaw-dropping moment of the week comes tonight as we watch a scientist clamber down to the rim of an active volcano in Africa, just metres away from the lake of molten lava.

And minutes after he (or she - we can't tell through their suit) beats a hasty retreat, the spot where they were standing is being licked by fiery orange fingers as lava spills over.

TV has been awash with earthquakes and volcanoes these past few years, and Richard's new two-part series was created, using CGI, a "virtual Earth" to help us visualise how they work.

But as impressive as it is, it's hard to top the real thing.

Then again, in real life, you'd never be able to make the pavements of Trafalgar square fly up into the sky so you can peer into the hole underneath.

Richard Hammond can, though, - and it's quite a trick.

WE LOVE DRAMA

HOLBY CITY BBC1, 8pm

IT'S another testing day in the corridors of Holby - but then is there any other kind?

Sahira's Cardiac Trauma Facility Trial has finally been given the green light by Hanssen, but the arrival of the unit's first patient forces her to reconsider whether she's up to the job.

A paramedic has been brought in with a pole sticking out of her chest and just when sahira could do with some support from her colleagues, Jac is, as usual, being madly obstructive.

Anyone would think she wanted sahira to fail...

There's another less life or death test going on in AAU where sacha has been put in the impossible position of having to decide which of two new trainee doctors to employ. should it be the one who's actually been told she's got the job, or should it be the leggy, pretty, smiley one who just happens to be the chief executive's daughter?

Her name is Lulu and her very first question, "Where can I hang up my pashmina?" tells you she's not a girl who's used to getting turned down for anything.

WE LOVE SOAPS

EMMERDALE ITV1, 7pm

AMY'S old acquaintance Jared, who turned up last night, isn't just another boy for Hannah Barton to throw herself at - and miss. He's nursing a serious grudge against Amy, who he claims ruined his life.

However, we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out exactly how she affected him.

Meanwhile, little samson is accused of being a school bully. Little samson couldn't even spell the word bully, which turns out to be the reason why he's the one being picked on.

EASTENDERS BBC1, 7.30pm

This isn't the first time Fat Pat has tried her hardest to stop Janine from becoming rich.

Doesn't she realise that Minted Janine would be far less of a pain the backside for everyone than skinted Janine? Brilliantly, she's also wrecked Janine's plans to give brother Ricky a handout. He's off to Dubai tonight but he can't be as broke as he is claiming because he's going from East London to Heathrow Airport in a black cab - and that's a pounds 75 fare!

DON'T MISS YOUR FANTASTIC TV MAG fRee IN THE MIRROR ON SATURDAY

CAPTION(S):

BULLETIN News hounds Bel, Hector and Freddie VOLCANOES Richard Hammond TRAUMA Jac assists Sahira SHOWDOWN Rachel accuses Samson of bullying
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 19, 2011
Words:818
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