Tony on TV - 9th May

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MAY’s the month for two of the many annual checks on TV and it does not need a doctor tell you that there’s a lot of old tat on screen among the many TV gems.

The first clinic was hosted by Philip Schofield on ITV last week as the British Soap Awards 2012 shone the spotlight on the country’s most popular TV genre in 17 categories voted for by the long-suffering public or by a panel of judges.

In the end it turned out to be seven awards apiece for ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Coronation Street’ with the residents of Albert Square cheering on Pam St Clement who scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award as Walford’s late and much-missed Pat Butcher while viewers voted it the Best British Soap, no doubt for being consistently bleak and depressing.

That charge can’t be levelled at ‘Corrie’ which had the Sexiest Female -- Michelle Keegan (Tina McIntyre) and Villain of the Year -- Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster) as well as being tops for comedy, thanks to Stephanie Cole (Sylvia Goodwin).

Comedy will also be the fore in just over a fortnight’s time when the good and the great gather at London’s Royal Festival Hall for the British Academy Television Awards.

There’s also the serious side of life, be it news coverage or Dominic West’s chilling performance as the killer Fred West in ‘Appropriate Adult,’ as well as single dramas, mini-series, soaps (yes, ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Corrie’ are hoping to add to their silverware), imported hits such as ‘The Killing’ or more home-grown offerings in ‘Made in Chelsea’ and ‘Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels.’

One omission from the list (but that is bound to be corrected next year) is edge-of-the-seat drama ‘Homeland’ (Channel 4), which ended on Sunday after endless red herrings and false leads that had kept viewers guessing for 10 weeks.

And for those with withdrawl symptoms, Sky Arts 1 starts the Israeli version, on which ‘Homeland’ is based, tomorrow evening in the 10-part ‘Prisoners of War’ about two soldiers returning home after 17 years in captivity in neighbouring Lebanon.


Edward VIII: The Plot to Topple a King -- Channel 4, Wednesday. Intriguing look at a bygone royal scandal, in this the Queen’s jubilee year, focusing on the part played by the self-serving Archbishop of Canterbury in the abdication crisis of 1936.

Phil Spencer: Secret Agent -- Channel 4, Thursday. Phil’s not a 007-type spy, but a property expert who uses some cloak and dagger tactics as he travels around the UK telling owners why their homes aren’t selling.

Maestro at the Opera -- BBC2, Friday. Conducting doesn’t get much tougher than this as the three remaining contenders have to make sure they have the right tempo . . . or get voted off by the orchestra.