Why can't we get enough of nostalgia TV?

Rodney, Del Boy and Grandad from Only Fools and Horses stand in front of a fence and look into the camera

“People like familiarity and ITV3 is a very safe environment,” says John Williams, Head of Scheduling Strategy, ITV1, ITV3 and ITV4. “The evergreen dramas are nice and soft; Vera, Endeavour, Midsomer Murders are what the channel is – those are the pillars of the schedule. On ITV3, we do not do explosions or gruesome murders.”

Comfort Classic: Blackadder

It is hard to think of another great BBC sitcom blessed by such a strong pedigree as that of Blackadder. Running over four series, spanning 1983 to 1989 – plus the occasional special – the creators and stars of this comic masterpiece read like a roll call of late-20th-century British screen talent.

Tony Robinson & Susannah Lipscombe explain why there's always time for history on television

To paraphrase the renowned historian EH Carr’s question, what is TV history? Is it knowledgeable big beasts – David Starkey, Mary Beard, Simon Schama and Lucy Worsley among them – lecturing as they stride across the historical stage? Or is it “living history”, where modern-­day Britons relive the experiences of their ancestors, as in The Victorian Slum? Or is it the long-running series Who Do You Think You Are?

Event report: In conversation with John Lloyd

John Lloyd (Credit: Gordon Cooper)

It was based on his conviction that everything in the world can be made interesting if looked at long enough and approached from the right angle.

Lloyd was appearing at a Southern Centre event held at Southampton Solent University in early December. Interviewed by lecturer Tony Moon, he emphasised the need for TV practitioners to know what they like and then be honest in setting out to achieve it.

Tony Robinson fronts new Somme documentary

Tony Robinson, Somme, WW1, Discovery

The one-off documentary will explore the first day of one of the bloodiest battles in human history, telling the story of five ordinary men through dramatic recreations, written accounts, expert interviews and archive footage.

Sir Tony Robinson (Time Team, Blackadder) will visit key towns, buildings, places and battlegrounds to meet the families of people who were caught up in epic conflict.

David Mitchell to star in BBC Shakespeare comedy

BBC Radio 4, David Mitchell, Comedy, Graeme Garden

BBC Two has commissioned a new sitcom from writer and comedian Ben Elton about William Shakespeare's early career.  

Upstart Crow is due to be broadcast on BBC Two in 2016 as part of the BBC’s Shakespeare Festival, marking 400 years since Shakespeare's death.

The series follows a young Will Shakespeare, played by actor and comedian David Mitchell, as he begins his extraordinary career, finding inspiration from the most unlikely of sources.