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FESTIVE TV people: The best of TV in 2003; Drive away those winter blues and look forward to the early New Year months with SARAH MOOLLA'S personal pick of the hottest TV shows.



Sarah Lancashire stars in this TV adaptation of the haunting D.H. Lawrence novel in impoverished 19th Century Nottingham. She plays Gertrude Morel, a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage to hard-drinking miner Walter (Hugo Speers). Her passion is her son, the selfish Paul (Rupert Evans). He grows up despising his father, is obsessive about his mother and toys with the affections of two women - with fatal results.

ITV1, January


The former EastEnders blue-eyed bad boy Martin Kemp takes on a good-guy role in this six-part action adventure series. He's Jack Finn, who works alongside his brother Tony (Joe Duttine), fighting organised crime. But Jack is also fighting a personal battle - he's secretly in love with Tony's wife and determined he should never find out. That is until he discovers Tony is having an affair.

ITV1, January


It's Goals versus Gucci and Prada versus the Premiership as the glamorous gals of the footballing world team up for another season. Joining regular players Gillian Taylforth, Zoe Lucker and Susie Amy are a host of guest stars including Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell, Peter Stringfellow and Tara Palmer `I'm A Celebrity Let Me in There' Tomkinson.

ITV1, January


No, this isn't about young Prince Harry going off the rails but the epic tale of a little known Edwardian Royal called Prince John (newcomer Matthew Thomas), the youngest child of George V and Queen Mary. Diagnosed as epileptic and having learning difficulties the young boy leads a lonely life cosseted by his mum (Miranda Richardson) and nanny (Gina McKee).

BBC1, January


Eyes right! After the success of last year's pilot, Tamzin Outhwaite is marching back onto our screens as Sergeant Jo McDonagh and this time the former EastEnders star will be on parade for an action-packed six- part series. She's the only female member of the Army's Special Investigations Branch, given the unenviable task of investigating crimes within the Armed Forces. She's less green than she was, but still keen and treated mean by her colleagues.

BBC1, January


James Nesbitt gets tough in a role far removed from the sweet Cold Feet Adam when he plays Murphy, an undercover cop who's a law unto himself. He may irritate boss DI Guthrie (Claudia Harrison), but his off-the- wall approach gets results. In the first in a series of four 90-minute episodes, he poses as a terrorist and shares a cell with a man believed to be an assassin in order to obtain a confession.

BBC1, January


You wait for ages for a really good Robson Green vehicle and then what happens? Two come along at once. Hot on the heels of the thrilling killer series Wire In The Blood comes this excellent drama in which the twinkly- eyed, pocket-sized Geordie plays Stephen Bradley, a workaholic, charismatic lawyer whose determination to be a successful partner sees the breakdown of his marriage.

BBC1, February


After the real-life troubles of James Nesbitt and John Thomson, they must be relieved to enter the cosy world of the now not-so-flirty-

thirtysomethings in this award- winning comedy drama. Pete is now happily married to Aussie Jo, but will the arrival of ex-wife Jenny spell the end of the honeymoon period? Adam and Rachel are struggling to cope with bouncing baby boy Matt, while Karen and David discover there's no such thing as an amicable divorce.

ITV1, March


These bad girls are about to get a whole lot better when the Larkhall slammer welcomes new inmates - con-women Phyl and Bev, played by Corrie's Amanda Barrie and Dynasty's Stephanie Beacham. Also back to do time and make Officer Jim Fenner's (Jack Ellis) life a misery is a seven-month pregnant Shell Dockley (handily played by a real-life pregnant Debra Stephenson).

ITV1, April


Sons And Lovers; Red Cap; Trust; Serious And Organised; Footballers' Wives; Murphy's Law; Bad Girls
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 1, 2002
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