Veteran arts programme The South Bank Show has celebrated the best of TV drama from its earliest days. In the very first series it aired a film on Dennis Potter. Since then, Andrew Davies, Paul Abbott, Jimmy McGovern and Sally Wainwright have all featured.
call the midwife
Melvyn Bragg was talking at a special live edition of The South Bank Show, featuring four of the UK’s leading TV writers – Jed Mercurio (writer and creator of hit police corruption thriller Line of Duty); Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith (black comedy anthology Inside No. 9); and Heidi Thomas (period drama Call the Midwife) – discussing their craft.
Call the Midwife
BBC One, 7.45pm
The much-loved period drama Call the Midwife is back for another well-stuffed Christmas special.
Writer Heidi Thomas provides Christmas cheer, as the sisters at Nonnatus House look after four orphans and a new born baby, and are treated to a baby ballet show.
The Alternative Christmas Message
Channel 4, 2.05pm
This is Channel 4's alternative to the Queen's annual message.
The BBC has commissioned a further three series and three Christmas specials of the multi award-winning drama Call the Midwife.
The deal will take the show through to series nine and follow the nuns and midwives later into the 1960s. Each series will consist of eight hour long episodes.
Call the Midwife has been one of the most popular dramas on British television since it first arrived on screens in 2012, with an average of 10 million viewers per episode.
"My generation grew up thinking that religion was completely marginal to British life, which, as for the rest of the world, has been proved more and more wrong,” historian Simon Schama famously said.
In this, if in little else, Schama and I have something in common. Born in the same year, I was also carried along on the wave of 1960s optimism, which assumed that everyone was basically good, life was getting better for all, and reason would triumph.
Since it premiered in 2012, Call The Midwife has consistently been amongst the BBC's highest rated and most-watched shows.
Based on the memoirs of real London midwife Jennifer Worth during the late 1950s, series six of the TV drama enters the swinging Sixties.
Themes will include "the beacon of the pill, the shadow of the Kray twins, the lure of independence and the call to duty", according to writer and executive producer Heidi Thomas.
Call the Midwife
It looks to be an eventful Christmas at Nonnatus House, as the community prepares for a televised carol concert on the BBC. Sister Monica Joan is determined to bring in the Christmas spirit early, despite Sister Evangelina’s disgust.
However Nonnatus is rocked when Sister Monica Joan goes missing shortly before the cameras start rolling.
Churchill’s Secret - ITV
This one of TV film stars Harry Potter actor Michael Gambon as Winston Churchill. In 1953 Winston Churchill has the first of several strokes which was kept secret from the world. Told from the perspective of his young nurse, Churchill fights to recover, all the while holding tight to the reins of the nation, refusing to relinquish his Prime Ministership.
Over half of the top 40 TV shows of 2015 aired on BBC One, according to research compiled by the Press Association from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (Barb).
Despite an increase in viewers over the year, Channel 4 does not make the list, as BBC One fills 27 spots, and ITV takes the remaining 13 places.
Strictly Come Dancing appeared 13 times in the list, making it the most consistently viewed show so far this year.