Thursday 17 Apr 2014
Dan Walker, Mark Lawrenson and Martin Keown discuss the week's football action.
This week's eye-catching Premier League fixture is Sunday's lunchtime encounter between bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool. Both clubs are locked together on a joint record 18 league titles, but Liverpool have not been English champions for 20 years and are rebuilding under new manager Roy Hodgson.
United were among the leading European clubs to kick-off their Champions League campaign in the middle of the week. The Premier League sides are looking to re-establish their dominance after failing to provide an English presence in the semi-finals last season for the first time in seven years.
One of sport's most enduring rivalries – England against Australia – takes to the streets of the Newcastle/Gateshead quayside in a unique athletics event. England were easy winners of the inaugural "Athletics Ashes" last year, winning 10 of the 11 events, but Australia have returned with a strengthened team led by Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker.
This will be the final outing for athletes of both nations before the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and the English team is sure to comprise several medallists from the recent European Championships.
This programme marks a weekend of Great North Run activity on BBC One which will also includes Michael Johnson's Great North Run and the Great North Run itself. There is also extensive coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The Great North Run has grown to become the biggest half-marathon in the world and an event that captures hearts and minds. As final preparations are made to stage the 30th run, Olympic and world champion runner Michael Johnson travels to the North East to find out why people have such a love affair with the event.
Michael feels the buzz as veterans, fun runners and fundraisers talk of the pain and pleasure of taking part. One of the greatest long-distance runners of all time, Haile Gebrselassie, tells him of his pride at taking part this year for the first time; and Michael shares the intimate and sometimes heart-rending stories of those who have benefited from the millions of pounds the run raises for charity.
A field of 128 professionals, amateurs and wildcards has been whittled down to 43, as the BBC's new snooker season gets under way with the inaugural World Open.
A random draw for each round has thrown up some fascinating matches, including a re-run of this year's World Championship final. Neil Robertson and Graeme Dott kick off proceedings, with Dott hoping to avenge his defeat to the Australian last May.
Coverage will continue across both BBC One and BBC Two as the tournament progresses from the opening game on 18 September through to the final on Sunday 26 September with Hazel Irvine, Steve Davis and John Parrott on hand to guide viewers through the action from Glasgow.
The young warlock struggles to recover from the serket's poison, as the fantasy drama continues. Meanwhile, Morgana and Morgause are free to step up their plans for the invasion of Camelot.
Morgause continues her manipulation of Cenred, as he prepares to launch an attack on the citadel, but Cenred knows he cannot take the castle alone. Morgause promises him that they have an ally within King Uther's court who will ensure they win the day – no one can fight a battle on two fronts. Morgause gives Morgana a powerfully enchanted rowan staff to aid her in her magical treachery.
King Uther is still unable to rule as he recovers from the enchantment inflicted by the mandrake root. So, as Cenred's army attacks the citadel, Camelot's fate now rests on Arthur's shoulders. The young prince and his men fight bravely but, just as they think the tide might turn, Morgana plays her deadly card. In the vaults beneath Camelot she uses the rowan staff to summon a skeleton army to wreak havoc within the castle walls.
Arthur and his men cannot hold off both an army of the living and an army of the dead. Merlin knows that their only hope is for him to stop Morgana and vanquish the enemy within. Will he be able to do so without revealing his own magical powers?
Merlin is played by Colin Morgan, Morgana by Katie McGrath, Morgause by Emilia Fox, Cenred by Tom Ellis, King Uther by Anthony Head, Gaius by Richard Wilson and Arthur by Bradley James. The Dragon is voiced by John Hurt.
Josie Lawrence stars as a headmistress with a school drug problem; Michelle Collins returns as the mother of troubled shooting victim Simone; and the team struggles to cope with new regulations in tonight's edition of Casualty – Chaos Theory.
As part of his mission to turn the beleaguered emergency department (ED) around in two months, Jordan introduces a new rule which states that patients should be in and out of the ED within two hours. As predicted, the team is unhappy with the rule. Charlie is annoyed that he wasn't consulted and Noel is confused by the system. Only Ruth, with her clipped bedside manner, finds the new regulations to her liking.
Schoolboy Taz is brought into the ED after falling from a school building and Zoe suspects he has taken LSD. Headmistress Mrs Haines, who happens to be the mother of Taz's girlfriend Julie, believes he's supplying LSD to other pupils. When 14 more students are reported with the same symptoms, Mrs Haines realises she has a big problem on her hands. Could the culprit be a little closer to home than she realises?
Shooting victim Simone is brought back into the ED after falling down the stairs and Kirsty suspects that she may have deeper psychological issues. But Simone's mother Camille refuses to listen to Kirsty and is furious about Simone's treatment. Already planning to sue the department over the previous incident in the ED, she now angrily confronts Jordan about the behaviour of his staff.
Ruth falls foul of the new rule system when a patient reveals that she's waited more than four hours for painkillers. But Ruth has greater problems at home. Confused by new husband Edward's lack of physical attention, she plans a night of intimacy for the two of them. Will Edward be seduced by Ruth's charms?
Jordan is played by Michael French, Charlie by Derek Thompson, Noel by Tony Marshall, Ruth by Georgia Taylor, Zoe by Sunetra Sarker, Mrs Haines by Josie Lawrence, Julie by Nikita Mitchell, Kirsty by Lucy Gaskell, Camille by Michelle Collins and Edward by Stephen Billington.
From the team behind BBC One's Live At The Apollo, Bafta-nominated Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow returns to BBC One for a second series.
Once again, Michael travels around the UK visiting six of the most prestigious live theatre venues and unearthing a raft of comedy's brightest new talent and finest comedians en route.
In each of the six new episodes Michael introduces a very special guest headline act plus three of the best stand-ups from the UK comedy circuit, all of whom will be new to a BBC One Saturday night audience.
Michael begins his travels at the Glasgow Theatre Royal, where he is joined by special headline guest Kevin Bridges with stand-up performances from Daniel Sloss, Milton Jones and Craig Campbell.
Other headline acts to appear throughout the series include: John Bishop in Blackpool, Ardal O'Hanlon in Leeds, Sarah Millican in Sunderland, Noel Fielding in Bristol and Tommy Tiernan in Dublin.
Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow is simulcast on the BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat 108, Freeview 50, Sky 143 and Virgin 108.
Gary Lineker presents highlights from the day's Premier League matches, including Tottenham's home game with Wolves and Arsenal's trip to Sunderland.
Wolves beat Tottenham home and away last season, scoring an early goal at White Hart Lane and resolutely defending their lead. Spurs can ill-afford a repeat result as they seek to build on last season's top-four finish.
Sunderland have proved obdurate opponents in recent meetings against Arsenal. The Gunners were beaten by a Darren Bent goal at the Stadium of Light last season, forcing visiting coach Arsene Wenger to concede that it raised questions over his side's title credentials – concerns they have yet to dispel.
Other matches included the derby between West Bromwich Albion and Birmingham City, Newcastle's trip to Everton, Stoke City's home match against West Ham, and the return of Fulham manager Mark Hughes to his former club Blackburn Rovers.
BBC Two Daytime continues its coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Britain with a live relay of the Papal Mass from Westminster Cathedral.
The Pope will celebrate mass with the Bishops of England and Wales and representatives from Dioceses and organisations from across the country.
Huw Edwards presents with expert analysis on the Westminster Cathedral Mass provided by Monsignor Mark Langham.
Former Conservative minister Ann Widdecombe explores 19th-century British Roman Catholic Cardinal John Henry Newman's road to sainthood.
Ann meets Deacon Jack Sullivan, from Boston, who was apparently miraculously cured by the intercession of Newman. She also speaks to witnesses to his recovery, such as the back specialists and the lawyers who investigated the authenticity of the miracle.
Ann also travels to Rome, Oxford and Birmingham to meet ordinary Catholics, historians and specialists on the life of Newman to shed light on his life and work, as well as meeting leading figures from the Catholic and Anglican Church to explain Newman's importance to British Catholicism.
Nominated for five Emmy Awards, The Special Relationship starring Michael Sheen, Dennis Quaid, Hope Davis and Helen McCrory, takes a behind-the-scenes look at the unique and sometimes turbulent political relationship between newly installed Prime Minister Tony Blair (Sheen) and US President Bill Clinton (Quaid), as the two dynamic leaders become co-stars on the world stage. Davis plays Hillary Clinton and McCrory plays Cherie Blair.
The third in screenwriter Peter Morgan's trilogy about Tony Blair, following The Deal and the Academy Award-nominated film The Queen, The Special Relationship is directed by Richard Loncraine and is a BBC and HBO film in association with Rainmark Films/Kennedy-Marshall Production. Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, Andy Harries, Peter Morgan and Christine Langan are executive producers and Frank Doelger, Tracey Scoffield and Ann Wingate are producers.
The Special Relationship follows Blair's journey from political understudy waiting in the wings of the world arena to accomplished Prime Minister standing confidently in the spotlight of centre stage.
It is 1996 and the Blairs and the Clintons are a unique foursome – each one an extremely bright lawyer – with a kinship forged in shared ideology and genuine affection. When world events and personal watersheds shake the very foundation of their relationship, the men and their wives must come to terms with the ephemeral nature of power and, often, friendship.
As the drama begins, there are many similarities between Blair and Clinton, both centre-left politicians driven by personal ambition, yet equally driven by a belief that they can change the world and do a great deal of good.
The world watches as the seasoned and charismatic President takes the less-experienced Prime Minister under his political wing and shows him the ropes.
In early 1998 the White House is rocked by the Monica Lewinsky scandal – one that changes the face of American politics. Later, the bond between Blair and Clinton is sundered over the festering crisis in Kosovo, as Blair's call for action clashes with Clinton's pragmatic approach. It becomes obvious that, at heart, these are two very different men, perched on a political see-saw as their positions change; one rising as the other descends. With the eventual power shift to the incoming presidential administration, a new special relationship is about to begin...
The Special Relationship is simulcast on the BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat 108, Freeview 50, Sky 143 and Virgin 108.
During the Second World War, a remarkable band of 168 female pilots fought against all the odds for the right to aid the war effort. Without them the Battle of Britain could never have been won and Britain's dominance in the air, which paved the way for ultimate victory, would never have been achieved. They were the Spitfire Women.
Continuing the BBC's Battle Of Britain season, Spitfire Women tells the story of these trailblazers, who were part of the Air Transport Auxiliary – a thousand-strong organisation that delivered aircraft to the frontline RAF during Britain's darkest hours. Every day, responsibility fell on their shoulders to get the planes to the fighters, which often pushed them into dangerous, even deadly situations. They were expected to fly wherever the need was greatest in whatever aircraft was required, from state-of-the-art fighters to heavy four-engined bombers. They had no radios and no navigation equipment. One in 10 women pilots died flying for the ATA.
Using interviews with the last few surviving veterans, archive footage and dramatic reconstruction, Spitfire Women brings to life the forgotten story of the ATA. The resilience of these women in the face of open discrimination is one of the most inspiring and overlooked milestones in women's rights. Their story is one of courage, sexism and patriotism but, above all, a story about women who wanted to break the confines of the world they lived in – and reach for the skies.
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