ARMCHAIR travel is great, especially with the rocketing price of petrol.
So when I saw bmibaby was selling bargain price tickets of £29.99 for the 1,200-mile trip from its East Midlands Airport base to the southern Italian island of Sicily, I thought I could jet over and check out some scenes of crime as Inspector Montalbano solves a case or two before the current series ends on BBC4.
However, those cheap flights proved as elusive to find as any assistance I could have offered ‘Salvo’ as he chased around his Mediterranean patch, so I had to rethink my plan a little bit nearer home.
And that’s where for a price of a gallon of petrol at Sainsbury’s -- or without queuing, £6.19 online from Amazon -- I was able to check on all those secret venues for programmes past and present in ‘The British Television Location Guide’ by Steve Clark and Shoba Vazirani published by Splendid Books.
An ideal companion for reading at home, or keeping in the car, this 144-page fact-filled guide reveals the settings for such bygone classics as ‘Peak Practice’ (Crich), ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ (Coventry), ‘Little Britain’ (Southwold) and ‘Bread’ and ‘Brookside’ (Liverpool) as well as current favourites such as ‘Dr Who (Cardiff), ‘Doc Martin’ (Port Isaac) and ‘Downton Abbey’ (Newbury).
Not featured, however, is the final resting place for ‘Titanic,’ which like ITV’s £11m drama seems to have foundered, losing viewers over its short, four-part Sunday evening voyage which ends this weekend -- the 100th anniversary of the luxury liner’s sinking in the North Atlantic with the loss of more than 1,500 passengers.
Before that there’s a news focus on a maritime disaster that’s only months old in ‘The Sinking of the Concordia’ (Channel 4), Wednesday, which brings together camcorder and mobile phone coverage as the cruise liner hit rocks off the north-west coast of Italy and begins to sink.
The following day C4’s back on dry land when it gives a repeat screening of ‘Peter Kay Live at Bolton Albert Halls,’ an hour of money-spinning stand-up comedy, neatly followed by ‘Derek,’ a one-off comedy drama written by and starring Ricky Gervais. Let me know if it’s funny as I’ll be tuning into ‘The Sarah Millican Television Programme’ on BBC2 to see if the stand up’s got better.
Comedy Triple Treat -- BBC1, Friday. If you’re not suspicious about Friday 13th, there’s 90 minutes of comedy in store with a double helping of Lee Mack who is on the panel of ‘Would I Lie to You?’ and then in a new series of his sitcom ‘Not Going Out’ only interrupted by more headline horrors in ‘Have I Got News For You.’