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Five Reasons not to miss BBC One Thriller Hard Sun

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Hard Sun is a new six part thriller airing soon on BBC One. Here are five good reasons you won’t want to miss it.

It’s a PRE apocalyptic thriller
Hard Sun is a pre-apocalyptic crime show set in contemporary London. Charlie Hicks and Elaine Renko are detectives who, while investigating a murder in the inner city, stumble upon proof that the world faces certain destruction – in five years.

It’s a terrifying reality that the British government is urgently trying to suppress. Hicks and Renko find themselves pursued by ruthless Security Service operatives, who are trying to kill them in order to keep secret the truth about the mysterious cosmic event. The pair must use every bit of their ingenuity to protect themselves and those they love.

When the classified dossier is made public the government quickly discredits the story as a hoax and fear largely subsides. But the story never entirely goes away. Hard Sun is still out there – in a thousand online forums, supported by conspiracy theorists and the dispossessed on the fringes of society and the internet. And as the murderers, the abusers, the serial killers, the cult leaders start to come out of the woodwork, it’s up to Hicks and Renko to take them down. But what does justice mean in the face of Armageddon?

It’s from the guy who created Luther
The series is a six-hour drama written by internationally-acclaimed, Bafta and Emmy-nominated Neil Cross, the creator of Luther.

There is scientific genius involved
Professor Brian Cox is the series’ specialist advisor. He says of his involvement in the series: “I got involved through the BBC. They put me in touch with Neil, who wanted to have a chat about different apocalyptic scenarios. He wanted to get an idea of the probability of such a scenario, and establish whether a five-year timescale was conceivable and whether you would get that kind of notice.”

Jim Sturgess Hard Sun

Jim Sturgess is Charlie Hicks

It stars the excellent Jim Sturgess
Jim Sturgess plays Charlie Hicks, he says of script: “It has one of the most interesting, unique, brilliant introductions to a character I’ve ever read. Hicks, the character I play, goes from A to Z in five seconds. You start thinking he is one thing, and then immediately you’re led in the totally different direction. I was instantly drawn in by the possibility of what this could be and where this could go.” He also says of his character “The only way to describe him is how he would describe himself. He accepts that occasionally he’ll do bad things for the benefit of the greater good. But all the same he believes 100 percent that he is a good guy who is pursuing the greater good. He’s a natural with people and would consider himself an excellent family man with strong values. He’s an amazing dad and husband and leader and team player.”

Agyness Deyn Hard Sun

Agyness Deyn is Elaine Renko

Model turned actress Agyness Deyn also stars
Agyness Deyn, who was a model before moving into acting with roles in Clash of the Titans and Heil Caesar, plays Hick’s partner Elaine Renko. She says of the partnership: “It’s a cat and mouse relationship. They’re on parallel roads, but are forced together. Then they reach a crossroads and have to make a decision. It’s like a dark ballet where they’re dancing around each other.” It was also a very physically role too, something she really enjoyed “It’s very hard physically, but it’s amazing to be able to do all that myself. They didn’t let me do a couple of stunts. They wouldn’t let me fall through a glass table because even the stunt guy gets hurt when he does that. And they wouldn’t let me crash a car. But otherwise I did everything myself.”

Hard Sun premieres soon on BBC One

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Kick-Ass TV Heroines: Xena – Warrior Princess

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Xena Warrior Princess

What was not to love about Xena? As Lucy Lawless says: “Xena is a bad-ass, kick-ass, pre-Mycenaean girl.” Evildoers, clearly, must stand down, but not only bad guys (and girls) have Xena-phobia. Even heroes quake when she swings her broadsword.

Originally created as a syndicated complement to Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena pretty much kicked Herc to the curb. It was like when the Bionic Woman made us lose interest in the Six Million Dollar Man–only more so.

Unlike Lindsay Wagner’s early half-woman, half-machine, Xena wasn’t prone to frailty. Nor did she need robot parts. In fact, the Warrior Princess never lost. If she’s down, it’s not for long.

Plus, she was in touch with the dark side: This big-boned bruiser had definite moments of blood lust, as well as lust of some other varieties. Garbed in a leather miniskirt and armed with her trademark razor-edged, boomerang-action chakram, we watched Xena single-leggedly kick down entire platoons of Roman soldiers.

Sure, there were murmurings about Xena and her softer female sidekick, Gabrielle (actress Renée O’Connor). So what if they liked to conserve bathwater by doubling up? And what’s wrong with close friends frenching once in a while?

Then again, maybe it was true–and there’s anything wrong with that.

Actress: Lucy Lawless
Show: Xena: Warrior Princess
Character: Xena

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Classic TV Revisited: McMillan And Wife

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McMillan And Wife

Starring Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James, McMillan and Wife was a super cute crime-solving saga from the 1970s made for the NBC’s Mystery Movie series.

Who were they?
Hubby was the debonair San Francisco police commissioner Stewart McMillan.

And wifey?
Sally was a foxy, rather scatterbrained dame with a knack for finding corpses.

Worked down the morgue did she?
Hardly. Sally’s finds were usually in some glitzy mansion which the couple were frequenting for a weekend cocktail party. She also had a habit of getting her life threatened or being kidnapped.

Who was in it?
Tragic Hollywood star Rock Hudson no less. He took on Stewart McMillan in his first TV role, after years as a matinee idol with movies such as Giant.

Tragedy?
Fans of the lantern-jawed star were dismayed when he went public about having Aids. He had long kept his homosexuality secret. He carried on working in ’80s glam drama Dynasty, but make-up could not disguise the deterioration of this once-statuesque man. He died in 1985, aged 59.

What about Sally?
That role fell to raven-locked Susan Saint James. The Ali MacGraw lookalike was previously in shows such as Alias Smith And Jones and The Name of the Game.

Other characters
A vital ingredient to McMillan And Wife was sharp-tongued housekeeper Mildred, played by Nancy Walker. Somebody needed to keep the place tidy while they gallivanted about solving crime.

Famous guest stars?
Kim Basinger

The couple’s conception?
Like Hart To Hart, the idea was borrowed from Dashiell Hammett’s Thin Man books of the ’30s.

Gritty crime drama?
Hardly. These were cosy whodunnit cases, where the brutality of murder was never portrayed. The show was more about the interplay between McMillan and Sally.

Had viewers arrested?
Certainly in the US. It was the fifth highest-rated show in 1972 and 1973.

Fate of the golden couple?
Susan Saint James quit in 1976 over a contractual dispute. Nancy Walker also packed away her duster as housekeeper Mildred.

The dame’s exit was a fatal blow?
Certainly for the character of Sally – she was killed off in a plane crash. But Rock soldiered on with new assistant Sgt Steve DiMaggio (Richard Gilliland). The show became McMillan.

A winner?
Audiences dwindled and the plug was pulled.

Distinguishing features?
Cosy pillow talk, cocktail parties, Rock Hudson, pyjamas and numerous corpses.

Do say
Let’s go to bed. Turn the light out, darling.

Don’t say
Must you eat toast in bed, darling. Apologies, but I’ve got terrible flatulence. Separate bedrooms.

Not to be confused with
My Wife Next Door, Harold Macmillan, The Merry Wives Of Windsor and Mr And Mrs.

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Classic TV Revisited: The Royal

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The Royal

The Royal was an ITV drama commission and was inspired by its sister programme Heartbeat.

The lowdown: This nostalgic family drama is set in the swinging 1960s and centres on the staff of a cottage hospital in Yorkshire. Newly qualified doctor David Cheriton (Julian Ovenden) is determined to make a difference to the world and arrives at St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in Elinsby full of big ideas. But he clashes with the hospital’s secretary TJ Middleditch (Ian Carmichael) who is determined to run things his way. Then there is the Matron (Wendy Craig) who rules her nurses with a rod of iron and tries in vain to stop them being distracted by the handsome arrival.

Memorable moments: Watch out for former Heartbeat favourite Bill Maynard who crosses dramas and continents as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass. Greengrass has returned from a Caribbean holiday with a mystery illness but that doesn’t stop him trying to earn a fast buck. It doesn’t take long before Claude attracts Matron’s ire.

Trivia: The Royal is a family affair for real life husband and wife Robert Daws (Ormerod) and Amy Robbins (Weatherill). No fewer than seven members of their clan have appeared in the series including their daughters and stepson.

Michelle Hardwick, who played receptionist Lizzie, says her favourite moment in the whole series didn’t come on screen but in the actors’ green room. She says: “I was sitting in there with Wendy Craig and Honor Blackman and we were having a lovely conversation. I sat back and thought ‘Wow, this is great, I can’t wait to tell my gran’.”

A modern day set version called The Royal Today aired 7 January – 14 March 2008.

First broadcast: 2003

Starred: Wendy Craig, Ian Carmichael, Michael Starke, Robert Daws and Julian Ovenden

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