Tony on TV: Silence is golden for ‘The Artist’

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TRAVEL, they say, broadens the mind.

So when my favourite morning TV host ‘JK’ was sorting out problems Stateside in his new show ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show USA,’ I had demons of my own nearer home.

Thanks to a jam-packed Nottingham-bound Pronto bus that seemed to have escaped the attentions of the window cleaners, I had an eventful trip in the company of a passenger who said her claustrophobia did not allow anyone to sit next to her, while a fellow traveller’s dog slipped its leash to run amok amid the rows of legs that were in its view.

And if that was not enough, we all had to listen to Beryl as she phoned her hard-of-hearing mother to make arrangements for the delivery of a new stair carpet.

After all that hullabaloo, it was refreshing to make a beeline to the Broadway Cinema and enjoy the quiet delights of the Oscar-tipped ‘The Artist.’

The sound of silence in this movie, about the coming of talkies in the 1930s, only seemed to contrast with the full-on noise that accompanies some TV programmes -- ‘Dancing On Ice’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ being two of the main culprits.

However, order seems to be soon at hand with the arrival of a new series of ‘Upstairs, Downstairs,’ this Sunday on BBC1 at 9pm, which aims to give ‘Downton Abbey’ a run for its money.

Set on the eve of World War II, this six-part series features frocks aplenty, lots of romance, scandal and a host of new faces in the wake of a Christmas special last year, which revived the original series of the comings and goings at the upmarket Bellamy household that was a favourite with TV viewers 35 years.

While time moves on for all, the series has a link with the past as one of its originators, actress Jean Marsh, has beaten real-life illness to re-join the downstairs team at 165 Eaton Place, while over at ITV there’s no retirement in sight for Oscar-winning actress Shirley Maclaine who, at 77, has joined the cast of the third series of ‘Downton Abbey,’ playing the role of Martha Levison, the mother of Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern).