‘Our Gay Wedding: The Musical’ (Channel 4) Review

Saturday 29th March 2014 was an historic day. At midnight, same-sex marriage became legal in England and Wales. It was the result of a long, hard battle, with many right-wingers and homophobes attempting to stand in the way of equality.

It was on that day, too, that Benjamin Till and Nathan Taylor were finally married in a somewhat unconventional ceremony. Staying true to their jobs as a composer (Benjamin) and West End performer (Nathan), they turned their day into a musical.

Naturally, this courted controversy from the gay community. A lot felt that it simply reinforced stereotypes and implied that all gay men find musical ‘simply fabulous, dahling’. I must confess that I was firmly in this camp (pun very much intended). After seeing the newlyweds on ITV’s This Morning on the day of the TV broadcast, however, I changed my mind as they pointed out that they work in and love musicals and merely wanted their nuptials to reflect this. In their own words, ‘We’re not saying that all gay men love musicals – that’s ridiculous. We’re just saying that these two do.’

Having only been commissioned by Channel 4 in early February, Benjamin and Nathan had a mere seven weeks to write the lyrics and arrange the music for their ceremony but the time restraints didn’t show and was impeccably executed. It may have been peppered with celebrity appearances (including video messages from Ed Milliband and Nick Clegg – but strangely no David Cameron) but the whole thing really acted as a celebration of not only the couple’s time together and love for each other but also the gay community’s road to equality. Stephen Fry, who narrated the programme in the inimitable style of his, for which he is so treasured, fittingly emphasised the paramount importance of the 29th March in his opening monologue, describing the day as ‘extraordinary and historic’ and paving the way for a series of poignant reminders about the many highs and, unfortunately, many lows that LGBT people have faced through the years. During a brilliant performance of Erasure’s ‘A Little Respect’, the audience was taken through the imprisonment of gay men for so-called “homosexual acts” in 1954, the decriminalisation of homosexuality for over 21s in 1967, the AIDs epidemic, Section 28’s introduction and removal, the arrival of civil partnerships, and finally 2013; the year in which the same-sex marriage bill was passed and, against the will of some but to the jubilation of many, gays were permitted to marry.

One of the most beautiful moments of the ceremony for me, however, (yes, even more beautiful than the vows and subsequent kiss) was the song sung by Nathan and Benjamin’s mams, based on notes they gave them about how they felt when their sons came out. For a long time, I – needlessly, I’m sure – felt hugely guilty after I came out to my parents. I felt like I’d broken my mam’s heart in particular, turned her life upside-down. Nathan’s mam sang, ‘It took time to get to know the man who used to be my precious little boy’,’ and I know that that is how my own mam felt. I’d like to think, and am pretty certain, that, eighteen months after telling her that I’m gay, my mam has become used to it and realised that it doesn’t change anything. I can still have children. I can still express love and have it reciprocated. God, I can even get married now! Most importantly, though, I can still be happy. The only difference is, it’ll be with a man; not the woman she envisaged. I know that Noëlle and Celia’s song would have helped my mam if she had heard it when I came out, and I am certain that it will help many gay people and their parents realise that their worries, anger and guilt are not uncommon and will be overcome in time.

Our Gay Wedding: The Musical was camp as Christmas but at the heart of it was love; deep love between two men that was recognised in the eyes of the law and by millions of viewers. Finally! Benjamin and Nathan should be tremendously proud of their achievement and, like everyone else sane and capable of love around the world, I wish them every happiness.

Just as long as they don’t subject us to bloody Jon Snow singing the news again!

Image thanks to Channel 4 and Richard Ansett 

Our Gay Wedding: The Musical is still available on 4OD

What did you think of Our Gay Wedding: The Musical? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer

‘Only Fools and Horses’ (Sport Relief) Review

In January this year, it was announced that the nation’s favourite sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, was to return after an eleven year hiatus for Sport Relief. The show’s legion of fans were divided: some rejoiced, some despaired. I suppose I was in the latter camp; all of the Only Fools revivals (the trilogy of specials from 2001-2003, spin-off The Green Green Grass and prequel Rock &  Chips) largely failed to live up to the original series and, more importantly, writer and creator John Sullivan sadly passed away in 2011, leaving it to his two sons to write the script based on notes that their dad had left behind. Despite all of this, though, I tried to remain optimistic – and my optimism paid dividends as the sketch was a triumph!

Jim Sullivan already had form, having written seven episodes of The Green Green Grass – all of which I remember as being of the same standard as his father’s. Together with his brother Dan, and despite having refused to write a new Only Fools in the past, he penned this brand new ten minute episode, starring none other than David Beckham – who it turns out is actually a canny actor. Who knew?

Unlike Sir David Jason’s other revival, Still Open All Hours, thankfully nothing had changed in the world of the Trotters as Del was still trying to flog a batch of hooky goods with Rodney as his guinea pig and model. In this case, it was boxes of Beckham boxers – with each autographed by Golden Balls himself, a gag reminiscent of when Del tried to sell some cricket bats (‘each one personally autographed by Viv Richards’). However, this wasn’t the only reference to past gems as others came in the form of conversation between Del and Rodney in – what I assume was – Sid’s cafe, and also a fantastic pay-off at the end which for some reason I didn’t see coming but had me applauding – even if I was by myself in the sitting room.

The episode was quite a gem. Granted, it wasn’t packed with the laughs that fans of the original series will have been accustomed to but I’m sure no viewer expected that. The thing that took me most by surprise was how it altered my stance on the possibility of the show returning. I’d still be sceptical if a series was commissioned but Jim and Dan Sullivan have certainly proven their knack for crafting dialogue and situations that are on par with their dad’s, and so – and I never thought I’d say this – perhaps it wouldn’t be such a bad decision on the BBC’s part to give the green light to a Christmas special? Judging by this episode, the scripts would be just as good as when John Sullivan was at the helm and David Jason and Nicholas Lyndhurst certainly wouldn’t have any problem slipping back into their roles as Peckham’s most notorious dodgy dealers – it was as if no time had elapsed between 2001 (when all of the ‘01-‘03 specials were filmed) and now.

Maybe the success of Still Open All Hours and Birds of a Feather, coupled with the overwhelmingly positive reaction to this episode from the Twit tersphere, will convince them and the writers to take a punt on this, the most treasured of TV sitcoms?

All images ©Comic Relief

To find out how to donate to Sport Relief and where your money goes, head over to sportrelief.com

What did you think of Only Fools and Horses? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.

This Week in TV – 15th – 21st March

Yes, I’m now trying This Week in TV on YouTube. You never, know, it might work. I’ve also posted trailers/previews for all of the programmes that I could get hold of. Enjoy!

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway - Holly Willoughby is pranked on the set of Surprise Surprise

Harry’s South Pole Heroes - Trailer

The Widower - Trailer

W1A - Trailer

Davina: Beyond Breaking Point - This clip shows the third, and toughest, day of Davina’s challenge

Sport Relief – Take a look at the star-studded video for Little Mix’s ‘Word Up’ – this year’s official Sport Relief song

‘The Michael McIntyre Chat Show’ (BBC1) Review

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2012, Michael McIntyre claimed that he ‘didn’t want to go down the chat show route’, and yet there he was last night, proudly presenting the first episode of the imaginatively titled, The Michael McIntyre Chat Show.

Of course, there’s been a long history in this country of stand-up comedians becoming chat show kings and queens: Graham Norton, Alan Carr, Paul O’Grady, Frank Skinner and Sarah Millican to name just a few, and there was quite an expectation for Michael McIntyre – one of the UK’s most popular and biggest-selling comedians – to join that hall of fame. But has he succeeded?

The truth is, it’s too early to tell. The format of idle chats with celebrities, punctuated by banter with the audience, is quite reminiscent of The Rob Brydon Show, which, although running for three series, did go under the radar, quite unnoticed by many. I feel that The Michael McIntyre Chat Show might live a similar existence.

Throughout the first episode, which saw the host welcome Sir Terry Wogan, Lily Allen and Lord  Sugar, I just felt that the BBC were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. As I’ve said, Michael is one of the nation’s best-loved and most successful comedians – and he’s also one of mine; I saw  him during his Showtime tour in 2012 and can honestly say that there are few comedians who have made me laugh quite as hard and often as him. He’s at his best, though, when he’s messing about, exuberating his energy and making everyday, relatable observations. The opportunities for him to do this when he’s sitting behind a desk, in conversation with Lord Sugar, however, are few and far between. Hence, some moments felt quite stilted – look no further than Michael’s chat with one of Sir Tezza’s TOGs. Surely the epitome of awkwardness?

I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that The Michael McIntyre Chat Show needs some work. (Actually, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that it would have made more sense for the BBC to simply commission a third series of Comedy Roadshow.) It appears at the minute that the host is stuck between two worlds: Chat and Observation. Sadly, the two have never been combined well and, while it would be nice to see Michael be the first to achieve this feat, the chances of him doing that are quite slim. Perhaps once he gets a bit more experience with the writing and posing of questions, the show will become an altogether more enjoyable, and less hit-miss, affair. Perhaps the problem is also that Michael has Paul Tonkinson helping with the writing, despite previously saying that he ‘can’t do someone else’s jokes justice’.

Whatever the issue, I hope it’s resolved soon, as the audience expects the show to be a hit and Michael certainly deserves it.

 

The Michael McIntyre Chat Show is on Mondays at 10:35pm on BBC1

What did you think of The Michael McIntyre Chat Show? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Please comment below or tweet me – @UKTVReviewer.

You can also see what’s coming up on TV in the coming week on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

This Week in TV – 22nd – 28th February

Following on from a week that showed how great TV can be (Andrew Marr’s Jonathan Ross Show appearance, Sunday’s Call the Midwife and Emmerdale’s current HIV storyline) while also plumbing the depths of tedium (Splash!, Andrew Sachs’s interview on This Morning and Alex Turner’s BRITs acceptance speech), here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 22nd February

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

ITV, 7:00pm

After a four year hiatus, Ant and Dec returned with their Saturday Night Takeaway last year and stayed true to form by attracting a plethora of stars to take part, with Mila Kunis, Simon Cowell, One Direction, Robbie Williams and Ricky Gervais all making an appearance.

One of last year’s guests, Michael Buble, makes a'Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway' - ITV, 7:00pm reappearance this week as he steps into the voiceover booth to be the Guest Announcer and also provides the always fabulous End of the Show-Show. Elsewhere, Ashley Roberts will oversee another ‘Ant vs Dec’ challenge, the duo fool Holly Willoughby on the set of Surprise Surprise, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford take part in ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Outta Me Ear’, Little Ant & Dec cause trouble at the BAFTAs.

Of course, there’ll be lots of other surprises for the audience – both at home and in the studio – and probably a mention of Ant’s ‘thumb situation’ too.

Also today: An I’m a Celebrity… themed edition of The Cube: Celebrity Special (ITV, 6:00pm); the last of the blind auditions in The Voice UK (BBC1, 7:00pm); the last in the current series of Take Me Out (ITV, 8:20pm); and Jack Whitehall and McBusted join Jonathan Ross for a natter (ITV, 9:50pm).

Sunday 23rd February

Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole

BBC1, 4:15pm

Intrepid presenter Steve Backshall sets off on another Deadly 60 mission in this programme, and as'Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole' - BBC1, 4:!5pm the title suggests he’s embarking on a trek across the world – from the North to the South Pole.

Along the way, Steve will risk encountering some of the world’s most dangerous animals. Beginning in the Arctic, the presenter has run-ins with polar bears, walruses and whales.

Just like his previous missions, this isn’t going to be an easy one for Steve, but I’m sure he’ll manage. Just.

Also today: Dancing on Ice crawls towards its finale (ITV, 6:15pm & 8:30pm); former I’m a Celeb contestants Sinitta and Dougie Poynter are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Time Team (Channel 4, 8:00pm) focuses on Castle Drogo in Devon; hit comedy film Bridesmaids premieres on Channel 4 at 9:00pm; and TOWIE returns (ITV2, 10:00pm).

Monday 24th February

Impractical Jokers

BBC3, 10:00pm

For some reason, this hidden-camera comedy series went'Impractical Jokers' - BBC3, 10:00pm somewhat unnoticed during its first  series in 2012. That’s a real shame, as I can quite honestly say that I found it to be one of the funniest shows on TV in the last few years.

The set-up is simple: four friends and comedians (Roisin Conaty, Marek Larwood, Joel Dommett and Paul McCaffrey) are put into various everyday, but very public, situations and must challenge each other, with the aid of an earpiece, to do or say incredibly embarrassing things. If they succeed, they win points, but if they abstain or fail, they win nothing. The person who has the least amount of points at the end of the show must then undergo a terribly embarrassing forfeit – previous examples of which include stripping off in a launderette, performing a lapdance in a nightclub, and giving a motivational speech to a room of unimpressed businesspeople, using a presentation prepared by the other Jokers. The latter forfeit is in the clip below, which does contain strong language but is also very, very funny – and very, very juvenile.

Contains strong language

Also today: Operation Hospital Food with James Martin (9:15am), Countryside 999 (11:00am) and Antiques Road Trip (4:30pm) all return to BBC1; new quiz series Revenge of the Egghead begins (BBC2, 6:00pm); The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 7:00pm), Silk (BBC1, 9:00pm) and One Born Every Minute (Channel 4, 9:00pm) are back; and Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away! (Channel 5, 9:00pm) looks at the world of debt collection.

Tuesday 25th February

Strippers

Channel 4, 10:00pm'Strippers' - Channel 4, 10:00pm

This three-part series takes an in-depth look at Scotland’s strip club industry.

We begin by entering Diamond Dolls in Glasgow, which is run by Shelley and employs over 40 dancers. Here, viewers of the programme will gain an insight into how the performers juggle work with their home lives and what they really think about the industry they are part of. For example, Kim (pictured) explains why she sacrificed her gymnastics success for a life of lap dancing and Laefana opens up about how her job helps pay the debts from her nursing degree.

The punters of the clubs featured will also tells us why they like to go to such places as the series progresses and also visits Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Also today: Permission Impossible: Britain’s Planners (BBC2, 7:00pm); Kirstie Allsopp presents Kirstie’s Best of Both Worlds (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Max Hastings presents documentary The Necessary War (BBC2, 9:00pm); The Mentalist (Channel 5) and The Vampire Diaries (ITV2) return at 9:00pm after their mid-season breaks; Steve Jones presents new challenge series, Hair (BBC3, 9:00pm); and sitcom Pramface is back for a new series (BBC3, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 26th February

Party Wright Around the World

ITV2, 9:00pm

In this new series, former TOWIE star Mark Wright travels the globe to meet various groups of'Party Wright Around the World' - ITV2, 9:00pm friends in often very different locations. His challenge after he has got to know them is to throw them a party that they’ll never forget.

Yes, ITV really have spent money on this.

Mark begins his three month-long journey in Miami, but the series will also see him travel to such gorgeous locations as New York, Australia and…oh, Somerset.

I’m guessing the budget was pretty much non-existent by the time Somerset was decided upon…

Also today: Born to Kill? returns (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Festivals, Sex & Suspicious Parents begins (BBC3, 9:00pm); and comedy drama film Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor, premieres on Channel 4 at 12:05am.

Thursday 27th February

Bluestone 42

BBC3, 10:00pm

I wasn’t particularly impressed by this bomb disposal unit-set sitcom when it began last year, and'Bluestone 42' - BBC3, 10:00pm have to admit that I haven’t watched any episodes since the first. It must have proved popular with some, though, as it spawned a Christmas special and second series, which begins tonight.

Having made his debut in the Christmas episode, Matthew Lewis returns as the fresh-out-of-training Corporal Gordon House, nicknamed Towerblock, who is in possession of a new weapon: the Glock 17. This prompts Captain, Nick to try to prove himself by undergoing a weapons-handling test – but it doesn’t exactly go swimmingly.

Elsewhere, Simon attempts to improve his intellect by studying Art of War – and draws Bird into his obsession, landing her in trouble.

Also today: One-off documentaries Royal Funerals: The Inside Story (Channel 5, 7:00pm), Jumbo: The Plane That Changed the World (BBC2, 9:00pm) and The Storms That Stole Christmas (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and new factual series Junior Paramedics begins (BBC3, 9:00pm).

Friday 28th February

Jonathan Creek

BBC1, 9:00pm

Jonathan hasn’t done too badly with his sidekicks over the years, has he? Caroline Quentin, Julia'Jonathan Creek' - BBC1, 9:00pm Sawalha and Sheridan Smith all joined the sleuth from 1997 to 2013, and now Sarah Alexander is  helping out as Alan Davies dons the duffle coat for a series of three new cases.

In tonight’s opening episode, Jonathan, as always, must employ his magic knowledge as he investigates the mystery of an actress’ murder in her locked dressing room. The victim, Juno Pirelli’s wounds cannot be explained and no murder weapon can be found, yet, with her life hanging in the balance, someone must be accountable.

Jonathan has his own troubles, though: he and his wife Polly (Sarah Alexander) have recently suffered a sudden personal tragedy, and their marriage is about to be thrown into jeopardy as a series of disturbing family secrets are uncovered.

Also today: Mel C, Gyles Brandreth and Adam Hills are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); John Humphrys returns to his native Cardiff in Coming Home (BBC2, 8:30pm); Niall Ferguson uses cutting-edge technology to offer his perspective on World War I in The Pity of War (BBC2, 9:00pm); and a stellar Graham Norton Show line-up on BBC1 at 10:35pm, with Fifty Shades star Jamie Dornan, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Naomi Campbell, The Kaiser Chiefs and Ant and Dec all taking to the sofa.

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – Thanks to ITV; Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole – Thanks to BBC NHU, ©Johnny Rogers; Impractical Jokers – Thanks to BBC, ©Yalli Productions; Strippers – Thanks to Channel 4; Party Wright Around the World – ©ITV; Bluestone 42 – Thanks to BBC and Coco Van Oppens, ©BBC; Jonathan Creek – Thanks to BBC and John Rogers, ©BBC.

This Week in TV – 8th – 14th February

Following on from a week that saw appointment television like The Big Benefits Row, Age Gap Love and the heartbreaking Hunted, here’s what’s on over the next seven days.

Saturday 8th February

The Jonathan Ross Show

ITV, 9:55pm

You do kind of have to feel sorry for Wossy. He hasn’t exactly had the best guests this series, has he? In fact, he hasn’t had the best guests since his move to ITV.

I don’t want to start sounding too much like Ian Hyland but if we'The Jonathan Ross Show' - ITV, 9:55pm compare The Jonathan Ross Show  to The Graham Norton Show, the contrast in the quality of guests is obvious. For example, on the first show back after his Christmas and New Year break, Graham welcomed Sly Stallone, Robert De Niro, Jonah Hill and Carey Mulligan to his sofa. Impressive! Over on Jonathan’s show? Naomie Harris, Jennifer Saunders, Jamie Cullum and Paddy McGuinness made an appearance. Of course, there is an argument for British stars being more relevant to a British audience (plus Naomie Harris was in the much-anticipated Nelson Mandela biopic at the time) but, let’s face it: it hardly makes for inspiring reading, does it? Or viewing, for that matter.

So, is Wossy’s line-up any better this week? Well, yes to be fair. John Legend performs, Kiefer Sutherland discusses the new 24, Chris O’Dowd chats about his new film Cuban Fury (which looks very good), Emily Mortimer talks about her sitcom Doll & Em and Kevin Bridges explains why he’s not doing much at the moment – which does beg the question, why’s he on The Jonathan Ross Show?

Also today: The second semi-final of Splash! (ITV, 7:10pm); and Tony Robinson returns with Walking Through History (Channel 4, 8:00pm).

Sunday 9th February

Babylon

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Directed by Danny Boyle, this one-off comedy drama stars a wide range of acting talent.'Babylon' - Channel 4, 9:00pm

James Nesbitt, Jill Halfpenny, Jonny Sweet, Martin Trenaman and more appear in Babylon, in which  Liz Garvey (played by US actress Brit Marling) is introduced by Chief Constable Richard Miller (Nesbitt) to revamp the police. Her job is to improve PR with the force – dragging it into the twenty-first century; the age of rolling news, smart phones and social media.

However, we also see some of the other cops at work in London, as cameraman Matt Coward follows them around for his fly-on-the-wall series.

Tonight’s 90 minute programme acts at the pilot. A full series of six episodes will follow later this year.

Also today: An 80s-themed Dancing on Ice, celebrating 30 years since Torvill and Dean’s success at the Olympics (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); and Sir Steve Redgrave and Natalie Anderson are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm).

Monday 10th February

Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring 

Channel 5, 9:00pm

After what he has many times called the worst year of his life (having been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree), Jim Davidson was voted the winner of Celebrity Big Brother last month.'Jim Davidson: At Least I'm Not Boring' - Channel 5, 9:00pm

Now I wasn’t particularly bothered that he won. I shocked myself by forgiving his vile stand-up routines and “gags” and instead being happy for him winning. But then I remembered why he was kicked off of Hell’s Kitchen. I remembered that he last year compared the Paralympics to “f*cking Robot Wars”, likened a black competitor to “a Peparami” and, on the topic of the twenty three-times gold medal-winning Ellie Simmonds, stated, “I f*cking hate midgets…they’re horrible”. Of course, comedians’ jokes – however unfunny – do not necessarily represent their true views, but surely no one can deny that some of Jim Davidson’s routines are plainly unacceptable.

Anyway, controversies aside, this documentary charts the rise, fall and rise again of Jim Davidson – from his early days on New Faces to Big Break and The Generation Game, his arrest last year and then finally his CBB success.

Also today: Crime drama series WPC 56 is back (BBC1, 2:15pm); Danny Baker’s Rockin’ Decades (BBC4, 9:00pm); off the back the success of Benefits Street and The Big Benefits Row, Richard Bacon hosts Benefits Britain: The Debate (Channel 4, 10:00pm); spoof documentary The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (BBC4, 10:00pm); and the first of a three part series, Danny Baker Rocks the Seventies (A Bit) (BBC4, 10:30pm).

Tuesday 11th February

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer

ITV, 8:00pm

As you may or may not be aware, last week’s Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was in fact  the last-ever. After'Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris's Final Answer' - ITV, 8:00pm fifteen years there are no more audiences to be asked, no more friends to be phoned and no more fifties to be fiftied.

Yes, I am aware that that doesn’t make sense. Just go with it though, please.

In this programme, the show’s host, Chris Tarrant, reflects on the past one and a half decades – from the six top prize winners (five of whom were clever enough not to cheat) to some of the most unfortunate losers.

Also today: Police 5 (Channel 5, 7:30pm) offers up crime prevention advice; 200 Nips and Tucks and I Want More! (Channel 5, 9:00pm); new dating show Sexy Beasts (BBC3, 10:00pm); and some magic in Troy (E4, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 12th February

Suspects

Channel 5, 10:00pm

The press pack for Suspects claims that it is ‘an innovative new British crime drama’.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of ‘innovative’ is, ‘something new or different’. That might'Suspects' - Channel 5, 10:00pm be worth keeping in mind as I tell you that Suspects is an improvised series filmed in a documentary  style. We follow a team of detectives in each stand-alone episode as they investigate a different case. That sounds remarkably similar to ITV’s 2012 improvised series, Crime Stories, which was also filmed in a documentary style, with each stand-alone episode following detectives as they investigate a different case.

I’m not suggesting that Suspects isn’t going to be good. I’m merely pointing out that it is not ‘innovative’ – well, not in the popular sense of the word, at least.

Also today: Line of Duty returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); Dominic Cooper stars in drama series Fleming, about the creator of the James Bond books (Sky Atlantic, 9:00pm); and documentary series First Dates is back (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Thursday 13th February

Benidorm 

ITV, 9:00pm'Benidorm' - ITV, 9:00pm

For some reason, this series of Benidorm has attracted some criticism. Many have stated that it  has been the weakest run to date but I completely disagree – I don’t think I’ve found the show this funny since the second series! It’s rude, crude and borders on the ridiculous but also simply brilliant!

Plus it stars Danny Walters. *Swoon*

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. This week’s episode is the last in the series and sees a clash for the Garveys and the Dykes, Joyce put under pressure and some very big guests turn up in the form of Rustie Lee, the Krankies and Joan Collins!

Rustie’s the main feature though, obviously.

Also today: The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure (BBC2, 8:00pm); The Kidnapping of Shergar (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Bible Hunters (BBC2, 9:00pm); and the best bits of Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe (BBC2, 10:00pm). His coverage of Hayley’s death on Corrie was a particular highlight for me.

Friday 14th February

Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages 

ITV, 8:00pm

Beginning tonight, this eight-part series follows the work of trainee nurses in Manchester and  Birmingham.

Over the course of the series, we get to know the students as they try their best to cope with the struggles on the wards, in training and at home. Hopefully it will also show the NHS in a good light, given its recent bad rap in the papers.

May I also just say happy Valentine’s Day to all of the singletons out there? I shall be spending 14th February in London, surrounded by many of my friends who are in relationships. Let’s all share the pain of singletude, eh?

Also today: Vernon Kay, Miles Jupp and Kelly Hoppen are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Ian Botham is the subject of the last Life Stories of the series (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights concludes (Channel 4, 9:00pm); more Alan Davies: Après Ski (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Matt Damon, Hugh Bonneville and Paloma Faith round-off the current series of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: The Jonathan Ross Show – Thanks to Nicky Johnston, ©ITV; Babylon – Thanks to Channel 4 and Dean Rogers; Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring – Thanks to Five; Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer – Thanks to ITV, ©Sony Pictures Television; Suspects – Thanks to Five; Benidorm – Thanks to ITV, ©Tiger Aspect.

This Week in TV – 1st – 7th February

Greetings! And following on from a week that saw bleeding eyes in Splash!, crashes aplenty on Channel 4′s The Jump and Jim Davidson re-enter the nation’s good books, here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 1st February

Splash!

ITV, 6:50pm'Splash!' - ITV, 6:50pm

Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan join coach Tom Daley for the first semi-final of celebrity diving  competition, Splash!.

Taking part tonight are: Diversity’s Perri Kiely; model, Danielle Lloyd; Boyzone star, Keith Duffy; and presenter, Michaela Strachan. I’ve just watched each of their first dives on YouTube (as I can’t be bothered to watch the programme in full – or at all for that matter) and it seems that Perri is the stand-out diver, although I was quite impressed by Danielle and Keith.

However, who the public and judges pick to go through to the final is another matter.

Also today: Liam Neeson, Peter Andre and Goldie Hawn are on The Jonathan Ross Show, with Pixie Lott providing the music (ITV, 9:35pm).

Sunday 2nd February

A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack

BBC1, 10:25pm'A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack' - BBC1, 10:25pm

Tonight, the BBC shows a half-hearted tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack.

Now, I’m saying ‘a half-hearted tribute’ because it’s a ten minute programme, featuring interviews  with his friends and colleagues, followed by a repeat of the first episode of Only Fools and Horses – in which he appears for all of 3 minutes 11 seconds (yes, I timed it. No one can say I don’t put effort into this blog.)

To think, the show’s writer, John Sullivan, got a full thirty minutes when he passed away in 2011.

It just seems such a waste. For a man who has left such a mark on British comedy, and the news of whose death caused such an outpour of adoration from the nation, I can’t help feeling that the BBC could have done more to celebrate his fantastic achievements – both on- and off-screen. Surely they could have extended the tribute programme for a start; ten minutes will surely not be enough to shed light on his TV, film and stage roles, as well as his tireless charitable and political campaigns. Then, to follow that, why not show an episode of Only Fools in which he is more prominent – ‘Ashes to Ashes’ or ‘The Jolly Boys Outing’, perhaps? Or show an episode of The Vicar of Dibley? Or even – as a last resort – The Old Guys? Or all three!

I just think that Roger Lloyd-Pack deserves more than this short ‘tribute’.

Also today: Dancing on Ice, sans Zaraah Abrahams (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); Janine Duvitski and Scott Mills’s families go head-to-head on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Top Gear returns (BBC2, 8:00pm); and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall presents new documentary series Scandimania (Channel 4, 8:00pm).

Monday 3rd February

The Big Benefits Row: Live

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Channel 5 cash-in on the success (for want of a better word) of Benefits Street with this: a live debate surrounding the topic of the country’s welfare system, and whether it needs to be revised.

Kelvin McKenzie, Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie will be joined by a live studio audience to debate how easy it is to cheat the system, whether immigrants should be able to claim benefits, and are the sums available just out of control?

It’ll likely be controversial and cause a storm on Twitter – so Katie Hopkins will love it.

Also today: A Horizon special (BBC2, 9:00pm); DCI Banks is back (ITV, 9:00pm); and BBC3′s Growing Up Down’s, also at 9:00pm.

Tuesday 4th February

Births, Deaths and Marriages

ITV, 9:00pm

This two-part fly-on-the-wall series, following the highs and lows of life at Westminster register office,  begins tonight.

The office, which holds the birth and marriage records for big names including Winston Churchill,'Births, Deaths and Marriages' - ITV, 9:00pm Joan Collins, Paul McCartney and Margaret Thatcher, sees the registration of thousands of marriages a year, and this series takes a look at just some of them.

In the first episode, we meet Head Registrar, Alison Cathcart, who registered Prince George’s birth last summer, as she prepares to marry a couple who have no witnesses for their union so – yep, you guessed it – have to ask two willing volunteers from the street to stand in on the ceremony. However, it’s not all joy: married couple Tony and Rebekah arrive at the office to register the birth of their daughter Joanna, who was born with congenital heart disease. Sadly, we also see them register Joanna’s death just two weeks later.

To say that this is going to be a rollercoaster of emotion is an understatement!

Also today: Kevin Bridges, Rachel Riley and more take to the hot seat for (what is said to be the last-ever) Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (ITV, 8:00pm); She’s 78, He’s 39: Age Gap Love (Channel 5, 9:00pm) meets couples whose ages haven’t stopped them loving each other; and Christine Lagarde presents The Richard Dimbleby Lecture (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 5th February

Inside No. 9

BBC2, 10:00pm'Inside No. 9' - BBC2, 10:00pm

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s eagerly-awaited dark comedy Inside No. 9 begins  tonight.

Each of the six episodes in this series will focus on a different street, going behind the door of a different number 9, revealing the strange and dark goings on inside the building. In the first episode for example, a couple’s engagement party leads to a game of ‘sardines’ and some quite odd revelations.

Everything points to Inside No. 9 being a hit – not only because it’s from the pen of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton but also because it features an array of guest stars (Tamsin Greig, Anne Reid, Katherine Parkinson and Gemma Arterton to name just a couple) and has been recommissioned for a second series by the BBC, before the first episode has even aired.

Also today: Documentaries Royal Cousins at War (BBC2, 8:00pm), Touring Car Legends (ITV4, 8:00pm), Extreme Beauty Queens: Secrets of South America (BBC3, 9:00pm) and Sherlock: The First CSI (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Thursday 6th February

The Big Reunion

ITV2, 9:00pm

Following the unexpected, monster hit that was the first series of The Big Reunion last year, ITV2 have of course brought it back once again for 2014 – only this time with a somewhat less inspiring  line-up.'The Big Reunion' - ITV2, 9:00pm

A1, Eternal (except Louise), Damage, 3T and Girl Thing are all reforming. Er, I’m sorry: who? Fair enough, A1 and Eternal I have heard of but the rest? Is that the bottom of a barrel I hear being scraped? I can only assume the producers could get in contact with neither The Fast Food Rockers nor Scooch…

There is some good news, though: a ‘supergroup’ has also been formed of musicians who enjoyed a brief stint in the charts – so less The Big Reunion, more The Big Union. 5th Story, as they are called, comprises of Kenzie (of Blazin’ Squad fame), Adam Rickitt (the Nick Tilsley before the current one in Corrie), Gareth Gates and Dane Bowers (off of Katie Price’s hit list) and Kavana (your guess is as good as mine, quite frankly).

I’m sure that, as with last year, the most enjoyable parts will be seeing the performers being interviewed about the bitch fights and bust-ups that caused the group to split in the first place, as well as them reunite and discuss their differences amicable. Yeah, right!

Also today: Documentaries Pound Shop Wars (BBC1) and Help! I’m Snowtrapped (Channel 5) at 8:00pm; the sixth series of Inspector George Gently begins (BBC1, 8:30pm); Big Ballet sees plus-size dancers prepare for a performance of Swan Lake (Channel 4, 9:00pm); The Hotel Inspector is back (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Brain Hospital: Saving Lives begins (Channel 5, 10:00pm); and new Chris Lilley series, Ja’mie: Private School Girl is on BBC3 at 10:00pm.

Friday 7th February

Winter Olympics

BBC2, 3:30pm

For the next three paragraphs I shall attempt to sound knowledgeable about sport. Do bear with me.

Clare Balding presents coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony – and may I  just say how kind it is of Vladimir Putin to allow someone of her orientation into the city. He must be feeling particularly level-headed and'Alan Davies: Après Ski' - BBC2, 10:00pm intelligent at the moment, eh?

Then later, at 9:00pm, Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day will tell the story of the duo’s famous Bolero routine, which helped them win gold in Sarajevo thirty years ago. Incidentally, on 13th February, they will return to the country, and the very same stadium, to perform the routine once again.

Straight after Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day, new series Alan Davies: Après Ski begins at 10:00pm, which, each Friday, will see the comedian and guests take an irreverent look back at the action from the Olympics. Is it just me, or do you think someone at the BBC has been watching The Last Leg on Channel 4?

Did I get away with not sounding too knowledgeable but also not too clueless? I hope so.

Also today: Lee Mack, Ruby Wax and Dave Myers comprise the panel for this week’s Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Piers Morgan interviews Tony Blackburn (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights (which was originally released on DVD in order to trick fans into buying it, thinking that they were getting new material but in fact it was just a behind-the-scenes documentary which everyone, including Peter himself, knew would be on Channel 4 within a year or so anyway) is at 9:00pm; Alex Brooker is welcomed back to the aforementioned The Last Leg after finishing his presenting duties on The Jump (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Lee Mack’s new panel show, Duck Quacks Don’t Echo (Sky1, 10:00pm); and Gary Oldman and Nick Frost are on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Splash! – Thanks to Tony Ward, ©ITV/Twofour; A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack - ©BBC; Births, Deaths and Marriages – Thanks to ITV, ©Wall to Wall; Inside No. 9 – Thanks to Richard Ansett, ©BBC; The Big Reunion - ©ITV; Alan Davies: Après Ski – Thanks to BBC and So Television, ©Tony Briggs.

This Week in TV – 25th – 31st January

Following on from a week that saw the National Television Awards bring victory for Ant & Dec, Corrie and Doctor Who – but also possibly a diminishment in I Can’t Sing!’s ticket sales – here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 25th January

Celebrity Big Brother

Channel 5, 9:30pm'Celebrity Big Brother' - Channel 5, 9:30pm

The final is looming, and tonight we will see the repercussions of Linda’s eviction. 

She may have felt the wrath and been bombarded by the boos of the public but I was quite surprised that Linda Nolan (pictured) was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house last night. Yes, she was interfering, a nit-picker, bitchy and perhaps should have let sleeping dogs lie sometimes but I suppose I did sort of like her. But then maybe that’s just because she’s a Nolan. And I can’t bring myself to hate a Nolan.

Anyway, so, who do I think will win? Well if I had to predict the top three (I don’t, but I will anyway), I’d have to go for:

FIRST – Ollie

SECOND – Sam

THIRD – Jim

I would never have placed Jim even in the final at the beginning of the series but I do believe that, despite his questionable opinions and past routines, he’s come across well during this series. Well, sometimes he has anyway. It’s often the case that the quiet ones shine in the end, though, so that’s why I’ve placed Ollie and Sam in the top two. Whether that will be the case on the night, however, remains to be seen.

Also today: Jenny Eclair, Austin Healy and Una Foden are just some of the stars appearing in Splash! (ITV, 6:45pm); and Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound, Tinie Tempah, Seann Walsh and Sam Bailey pull up a pew for The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:30pm).

Sunday 26th January

The Jump

Channel 4, 8:00pm

Bearing in mind the money that has been invested in it, it’s little surprise that Channel 4 is really plugging new reality series, The Jump. And so they should too because, actually, it looks really  rather good.

Davina McCall and The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker are at'The Jump' - Channel 4, 8:00pm the helm of this show, which sees celebrities trained in Winter Olympic disciplines – from Skeleton to Bobsleigh, speed skating to slalom and, of course, the dreaded ski jump. However, the competitors will only have to face the eponymous jump if they find themselves in the bottom two as a result of their performance in that day’s challenge. So that’s quite an incentive to do well!

Taking part over the next eight nights will be: Richie Neville, Nicky Clarke, Marcus Brigstocke, Melinda Messenger, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sinitta, Laura Hamilton, Amy Childs, Anthea Turner, Darren Gough, Kimberley Wyatt, and Henry Conway. They will be trained by Olympians, Graham Bell, Amy Williams and the legend that is Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards. Should be fun!

Also today: 2012 film Mirror Mirror (Channel 4, 6:00pm); the remaining nine battle it out in Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6:15pm); Brian McFadden, Diane Parish and their families are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Dragon’s Den returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); and there’s one last Celebrity Big Brother Eviction ahead of Wednesday’s final (Channel 5, 9:00pm).

Monday 27th January

Britain’s Great War 

BBC1, 9:00pm

Beginning the BBC’s ambitious four year project to mark the centenary of World War One, Britain’s'Britain's Great War' - BBC1, 9:00pm Great War sees Jeremy Paxman (clean-shaven at the time of filming) explore how the War helped shape modern Britain.

This first episode begins by looking at the early stages of the War, from the incredulity of the nation to the mass recruitment of soldiers. Jeremy tells of the fear that gripped the nation, as spies were suspected to be everywhere and people lived in constant terror of their homes being attacked – which of course began to happen before long.

Jeremy also meets a 105-year-old eyewitness to the bombing of Hartlepool as she reveals what she thought and felt at that moment.

Also today: Daytime series Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (BBC1, 4:30pm) and Coach Trip (Channel 4, 5:30pm) return; Police Interceptors (Channel 5, 8:00pm) and Food & Drink (BBC2, 8:30pm) are back; The Many Faces of Dick Emery is on BBC2 at 9:00pm; US sitcom Dads comes to ITV2 (9:30pm); and documentary series Three Wives, One Husband: Married to the Mormons begins on Channel 4 (10:00pm).

Tuesday 28th January

Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

ITV, 8:00pm

Who remembers last year when Chris Tarrant announced that Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was'Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' - ITV, 8:00pm ending? Apparently he and ITV had mutually agreed to finish the show, yet here it still is with the  first of two one-off specials – the second of which will air next Tuesday.

The first celebrity pairs to take to the hotseats are Russell Kane and Gloria Hunniford, Frank Skinner and Adrian Chiles, and Alexandra Burke and David Emanuel (who, incidentally, is opening the newly-refurbished Bonmarché store in Sunderland next Thursday. Just thought I’d mention it).

The charities being represented are: mental health organisation, Rethink; The Caron Keating Foundation; aid agency, CAFOD; Breast Cancer Care; and Macmillan Cancer Care Support.

Also today: Children’s Emergency Rescue (BBC2, 8:00pm); Inside the Animal Mind (BBC2, 9:00pm); and The Zoo Next Door (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 29th January

Outnumbered

BBC1, 9:00pm

Personally, I thought that Outnumbered stopped being funny after the second run but it has proved'Outnumbered' - BBC1, 9:00pm popular enough to still be here for its fifth, and final, series.

As we rejoin the Brockmans, Sue is struggling to juggle her new office job with her home life, Jake is taking driving lessons, (the now very tall) Ben has been cast in the school musical, and Karen has joined secondary school, and clashes with just about everyone – teachers and fellow pupils alike.

It really is interesting to see how, with each series, Daniel Roche (Ben) and Romona Marquez (Karen) have grown up. And how much more handsome Tyger Drew-Honey has become.

Anyway, as it’s the final series, I might tune in. After all, it’s a few years since I last saw the Brockmans and it’ll be nice to catch up.

Also today: The Restaurant Man (BBC2, 8:00pm); and the Celebrity Big Brother Final (Channel 5, 9:00pm).

Thursday 30th January

BodyShockers: My Tattoo Hell 

Channel 4, 10:00pm

In this series, Katie Piper (pictured) meets people who have undergone or are planning to undergo major body  alterations, finding out their motives for and feelings about their'Bodyshockers' - Channel 4, 10:00pm decisions.

The first episode sees the model talk to a variety of people who have had tattoos, but now regret them. Take Grant, who has a tattoo on his eyelid and is about to undergo a painful and high-risk procedure to get it removed using a laser. Then there’s Merlisa, who wants a huge tattoo on her chest removed, and Dominic, who got his boyfriend’s name tattooed on his neck, only for them to break up three days later.

But Katie also meets some people who don’t regret getting tattoos. Matthew is inked from head to toe, with his penis even tattooed bright blue, as a sign of support for Birmingham City. Now that’s dedication!

Also today: One-off documentary Dan Snow’s History of the Winter Olympics (BBC2, 9:00pm); Matthew Kelly (who isn’t the Matthew from BodyShockers, I hasten to add) and Janet Street-Porter guest-star in Benidorm (ITV, 9:00pm); The Truth About Your Dog’s Food (Channel 5, 9:00pm), which needs little explanation; Suits returns (Dave, 9:00pm); and documentary Kids Who Kill (Channel 5, 10:00pm) – yet another programme with a very blunt, self-explanatory title.

Friday 31st January

The Last Leg

Channel 4, 10:00pm

Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker return with their review of the past seven days’ events.

This show has done exceptionally well, it should be noted. Bearing in mind it started out merely as a light-hearted, nightly review of the 2012 Paralympics, it is now a very popular topical series, which has helped boost the profiles of its three presenters, so much so that Adam Hills won Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist at the British Comedy Awards last year and is now the host of Celebrity Fifteen to One, four new episodes of which will air later this year. Josh also released his debut stand-up DVD last year while Alex has fronted his own documentary on body image and is, of course, co-host of The Jump.

As always, the trio will be joined by a different celebrity guest each week and viewers can get involved with their #IsItOk questions. For example, #IsItOk that Justin Bieber is acting like a total dick?

A nice little Last Leg reference for fans of the show there.

Also today: Ice Road Truckers returns (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Michael Ball, Caroline Quentin and Henning Wehn attempt to have their pet hates banished to Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Martin Kemp is on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and Julianne Moore, Matthew McConaughey, Sheryl Crow and Alan Davies are on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Celebrity Big Brother – Thanks to Five; The Jump – Thanks to Channel 4 and Todd Antony; Britain at War – Thanks to Dave Williams, ©BBC; Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – Thanks to ITV and Victory Television; Outnumbered – Thanks to BBC and Collin Hutton, ©Hat Trick; BodyShockers – Thanks to Channel 4 and Ray Burmiston.

‘The National Television Awards’: The Winners

It was the biggest night in showbiz as the cream of the crop of British television took to London’s O2 Arena to be recognised for their achievements. Here’s a full list of all of the winners:

Best Factual Programme

Paul O’Grady For the Love of Dogs beat off stiff competition from Top Gear, An Idiot Abroad and The Great British Bake Off to be named Best Factual Programme of 2013. Paul thanked the ‘remarkable’ team behind the show and gave a special mention to all of the cats and dogs charities in the UK.

Best Entertainment Programme

Well let’s face it, there was a 50% chance of Ant & Dec winning, as both Saturday Night Takeaway and I’m a Celebrity were nominated in this category, and in the end it was the latter that won, despite the hugely popular Celebrity Juice and The Graham Norton Show trying to get in its way. In the absence of Ant & Dec, King of the Jungle, Kian Egan delivered the acceptance speech, thanking everyone who watched the show and voted.

Best Documentary Series

Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, Inside Death Row With Trevor McDonald and Paul O’Grady’s Working Britain were all nominated, but it was the Educating Yorkshire team who took the award, with thanks going to the production team and the viewers. And let’s just forget one of the teachers putting poor Musharaf on the spot and making him speak, creating a potentially awkward moment if his stammer returned, shall we..?

Best Newcomer

There were candidates from all four of the big soaps, but in the end it was EastEndersKahli Best (Dexter Hartman) who won. He opted to thank God and his fellow cast members before wishing everyone a happy 2014.

Best Drama Performance

Considering it was his last year in the Tardis last year, it was little surprise that Matt Smith won the accolade of Best Drama Performance. As he was performing in the West End during the ceremony, Doctor Who chief, Steven Moffat and current companion, Jenna Coleman picked up the award. Moffat congratulated Smith on managing to step out of David Tennant’s shadow and excel in his own right.

Best Daytime Programme

Philip Schofield thanked the This Morning family and viewers when the show beat The Chase, Pointless and The Jeremy Kyle Show to be named Best Daytime Programme. This is the fourth year in a row that This Morning has won a National Television Award – and well deserved it is too!

Best Comedy Programme

In a huge ‘Feck you’ to its detractors, ultimate Marmite sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys beat Miranda, Derek and The Big Bang Theory to become Best Comedy Programme. As well as plugging Mrs Brown Da Movie (in cinemas June 26th, boys and girls!), the show’s writer and star, Brendan O’Carroll also thanked the fans, the crew and his extensive family and friends, most of whom star alongside him in the programme.

Best Serial Drama Performance

Who didn’t see this coming? Just two days after Hayley’s highly emotional exit from Coronation Street in the high-profile assisted suicide storyline, actress Julie Hesmondhalgh won this award for her portrayal of the character. She of course gave credit to her friends at Corrie but also showered co-star David Neilson, who also joined her onstage, in adoration. Farewell Hayley!

Best TV Detective

The absent Benedict Cumberbatch was the recipient of this new award, for his portrayal of the eponymous Sherlock. He saw off competition from Suranne Jones, Bradley Walsh, Idris Elba, David Tennant and Olivia Colman – who I voted for, incidentally. I still love Benedict though, of course.

Best Entertainment TV Presenter

I think that this was the toughest category of the night: Graham Norton, Alan Carr, Dermot O’Leary and Keith Lemon were all up for the award. But so were Ant & Dec. So they won it. Having arrived at the ceremony just ten minutes beforehand, the pair picked up their thirteenth Best Entertainment Presenter award, claiming, ‘We’ll keep coming if you keep voting.’ Ooh er, missus.

Best Drama Programme

Doctor Who, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Broadchurch: all hugely popular dramas, but only one could be the winner – and it was…Doctor Who! ‘Fifty years and still going strong’ are the words that Jenna Coleman chose when she picked up the award, before thanking “Moff” and Matt Smith.

Best Serial Drama

As expected, the award went to Coronation Street. Now, I have to admit that I’m firmly team Emmerdale, so was rooting for them, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t going to happen. There has been some big drama at Corrie this year – both on- and off-screen – and so it was sort of inevitable that they would take the title. Executive producer Stuart Blackburn opted to thank the show’s stars past, present and future.

Landmark Award

Philip Schofield presented this special award to Ant & Dec, who this year celebrate 25 years in showbusiness. Lost for words, Ant thanked Dec, as well as HRH The Prince of Wales, their mams and the audience. Oh, and he also took a selfie of him, Dec and the crowd. How very 2014!

Best Talent Programme

This is the category that really could have been anyone’s. Except Dancing on Ice’s. And The Voice’s. Alas, however, the award went to Strictly Come Dancing – further confirmation that Simon Cowell is losing his grip on British talent shows. Tess Daly delivered the acceptance speech, giving thanks to ‘everyone at home’, while judge Bruno Tonioli chipped in with tributes to the celebrities who take part in the show and make it so popular.

 

What did you think of the winners? Did your favourites pick up an award? In fact, were your favourites even nominated? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

You can also see what’s coming up on TV in the coming week on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

This Week in TV – 18th – 24th January

Yes, it’s time to look forward to the next seven days in TV and, following on from a week that brought us the deaths of DI Poole, comedy legend Roger Lloyd-Pack and the innocence of Frank Carson’s dressing room, here’s what we have to look forward to.

Saturday 18th January

Splash!

ITV, 7:00pm

Reflex, Splash!, The Voice, Take Me Out? With these below-par Saturday night entertainment shows, Ambassador, you are spoiling us.'Splash!' - ITV, 7:00pm

Splash! belly-flops into its third week this week and it appears that the bottom of the barrel is well  and truly being scraped, as the biggest name to be taking to the diving board tonight is musician Paul Young. Wherever he lays his swimming cap, that’s his home.

Just so you know, I hate me for writing that, too.

Joining Paul and hoping to avoid the Splash-Off are: TOWIE star, Dan Osborne; north-eastern comedian, Patrick Monahan; model Danielle Lloyd; and MP Penny Mordaunt, who has caused a bit of a splash by taking part.

Apologies, but that pun was too good to miss. And it was better than the Paul Young one at least.

Also today: Animated favourite Despicable Me (ITV, 5:10pm); the aforementioned The Voice UK (BBC1, 7:00pm); and Goldie Hawn, Russell Brand, Dermot O’Leary and James Blunt chat to Jonathan Ross (ITV, 9:45pm).

Sunday 19th January

The Musketeers

BBC1, 9:00pm

This ten-part period drama, inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, begins tonight.

Set in 17th-century Paris, The Musketeers follows Louis XIII’s personal bodyguards, Athos, Aramis'The Musketeers' - BBC1, 9:00pm and Porthos, who stand for social justice at a time when law and order is an unrealised concept. In this week’s opening episode, the Musketeers must try to rebuild the King’s reputation as well as strive to seek justice for themselves.

The series should also be noted for its stellar cast and crew. As well as being written by Adrian Hodges (the man behind Primeval and the multi-award-winning My Week With Marilyn), The Musketeers stars Tom Burke (The Hour), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin) and Howard Charles (Switch) in the eponymous roles, alongside Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It), Luke Pasqualino (Skins) and Hugo Speer (Father Brown).

Also today: Fake of Fortune? returns (BBC1, 6:00pm); all of the remaining celebs go head-to-head for the first time on Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6:15pm); gay men of Britain, listen up as Birds of a Feather’s Lesley Joseph and comedian Stephen K Amos compete on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); period dramas Call the Midwife (BBC1, 8:00pm) and Mr Selfridge (ITV, 9:00pm) are back; and one-off documentary Don’t Look Down (Channel 4, 9:00pm) explores the new craze of urban free-climbing.

Monday 20th January

Russia on Four Wheels 

BBC2, 9:00pm

In this two-part documentary, the conclusion of which is on Wednesday, Anita Rani and Justin Rowlatt take a three week-long trip across Russia in the hope of finding out how far the country has come in the 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.'Russia on Four Wheels' - BBC2, 9:00pm

Both presenters begin their journeys in the home of this year’s Winter Olympics, Sochi, but then head in different directions as they explore contrasting areas of Russia. Anita will be heading north and west from Sochi, in order to discover ‘new’ Russia, which sees booming business and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Justin, meanwhile, will be going east into ‘old’ Russia, where he visits factories and farms, finding that some areas have not changed since before the Cold War years.

To make things even more interesting, Anita and Justin are journeying in very different vehicles, with the former in a luxury armoured plated tank and the latter in a battered 1940s jeep. Watch tonight and on Wednesday to see how they get on.

Also today: The Alan Titchmarsh Show enters its 14th series (ITV, 3:00pm), with Mark Benton and Paul Hollywood being the first guests; Tom Dyckhoff (stop sniggering, please) presents The Great Interior Design Challenge (BBC2, 7:00pm); we bid a tearful farewell to Hayley in Coronation Street (ITV, 7:30 & 8:30pm); Food Unwrapped (Channel 4) and Winterwatch (BBC2) return at 8:30pm; much-trailed US sitcom Mom comes to ITV2 (9:00pm); and sci-fi thriller Helix begins (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 21st January

The Naked Rambler 

BBC1, 10:35pm

This one-off documentary focuses on the ever-controversial Stephen Gough, who is notorious for rambling around Scotland wearing only boots and a rucksack – something which sadly landed him in prison for seven years. He spent most of that time naked in solitary confinement.'The Naked Rambler' - BBC1, 10:35pm

Throughout the programme, we follow Stephen as he attempts a four month-long trek home to his family in Hampshire. His journey takes this long owing to the copious amounts of arrests, court appearances and prison stays that he has to deal with along the way.

We also gain an insight into Stephen’s motives for rambling naked, his family’s views and those of the public. The main question that I have is why does he insist on doing it, with his actions having landed him in prison numerous times, and therefore unable to see his teenage sons grow up? I guess that that question and many more will be answered during the programme.

Also today: Documentaries The Search for Alfred the Great (BBC2), Growing Up Down’s (BBC3) and Ross Kemp: Extreme World (Sky1), all at 9:00pm; and Claudia Winkleman is back with Film 2014 (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 22nd January

The National Television Awards

ITV, 7:30pm'The National Television Awards' - ITV, 7:30pm

It’s that time of the year again when the cream of the crop of British television are awarded for their  efforts.

As per the last few years, Dermot O’Leary will oversee proceedings and tonight X Factor winner Sam Bailey will open the show. Voting closes at midday today (22nd January), so if you’re reading this before then and haven’t yet registered your vote, do so now here. Make it count, though: you only get one go.

Here are the nominees (with my choices in red) for each category:

Best Talent Show

The Voice UK

Dancing on Ice

The X Factor

Britain’s Got Talent

Strictly Come Dancing

Best Serial Drama

Coronation Street

Emmerdale

EastEnders

Hollyoaks

Best Comedy

Miranda

Mrs Brown’s Boys

Derek

The Big Bang Theory

Best Drama

Broadchurch

Downton Abbey

Call the Midwife

Doctor Who

Best TV Detective

Olivia Colman (Broadchurch)

David Tennant (Broadchurch)

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)

Idris Elba (Luther)

Bradley Walsh (Law & Order: UK)

Suranne Jones (Scott & Bailey)

Best Drama Performance

Martin Clunes (Doc Martin)

Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife)

Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Matt Smith (Doctor Who)

Best Factual Entertainment Programme

The Great British Bake Off

An Idiot Abroad

Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs

Top Gear

Best Daytime Programme

This Morning

The Jeremy Kyle Show

Pointless

The Chase

Best Soap Newcomer

Marc Baylis (Coronation Street’s Rob Donovan)

Michelle Hardwick (Emmerdale’s Vanessa Woodfield)

Khali Best (EastEnders’ Dexter Hartman)

Anna Passey (Hollyoaks’ Sienna Blake)

Best Serial Drama Performance

Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street’s Hayley Cropper)

David Neilson (Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper)

Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street’s Tina McIntyre)

Jessie Wallace (EastEnders’ Kat Moon)

Best Documentary

Inside Death Row With Trevor McDonald

Paul O’Grady’s Working Britain

Penguins – Spy in the Huddle

Educating Yorkshire

Best Entertainment Presenter

Alan Carr

Keith Lemon

Ant & Dec

Graham Norton

Dermot O’Leary

Best Entertainment Programme

I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Celebrity Juice

The Graham Norton Show

 

I have to be honest, I’d have liked to have seen more digital TV channels get the nod (Mount Pleasant, Stella, Trollied, for example) but overall there are some brilliant nominees there. Tune in tonight to find out who’ll be picking up the awards!

Also today: Grammar Schools: A Secret History (BBC4, 8:00pm); Crimewatch (BBC1, 9:00pm); Embarrassing Bodies Down Under – presumably a reference to Australia, not which specific area of the bodies are embarrassing… (More 4, 10:00pm); and Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous (BBC4, 11:00pm) – a tribute to the late poet, previously shown on RTÉ.

Thursday 23rd January

Benidorm 

ITV, 9:00pm

For its first two series, Benidorm was fantastic. It was the traditional 30 minutes in length and'Benidorm' - ITV, 9:00pm provided consistent laughs. And then each episode was made an hour-long in 2010, and it very much went downhill. It was dragged-out, ridiculous and boring. Thankfully, though, the fifth and current sixth series have marked a return to form for the show and it is once again bringing hilarity and sunshine to our cold, dark January evenings.

It also helps that new cast member Danny Walters (pictured) is quite easy on the eye.

This week, Joyce sets up a volleyball match at the Solana, Michael and Tiger are up to their old tricks again and Clive and Tonya try their hand at karaoke.

Also today: Restoration Home One Year On (BBC2, 8:00pm); Lorraine Pascale and Jason Atherton present new culinary series My Kitchen Rules (Sky Living, 9:00pm); and The Midnight Beast returns (E4, 10:00pm).

Friday 24th January

Stella 

Sky1, 9:00pm

Ruth Jones’s (or should I say Ruth Jones, MBE’s?) gentle comedy-drama about a single mother in the Welsh valleys is back for a third series.'Stella' - Sky1, 9:00pm

People always say that you’d never believe that Fletcher and Arkwright were both played by Ronnie  Barker. Or that Del Boy and Granville were both David Jason. May I just add to that, though, that if you saw them side-by-side, you’d never believe that Vanessa Shanessa Jenkins and Stella Morris were both played by Ruth Jones. She’s much more of a versatile actress than people give her credit for – and it’s for that reason that I’m overjoyed that she has been honoured with an MBE.

If you’ve never seen Stella before, let me fill you in: if focuses on the eponymous Welshwoman and the trials and tribulations that she encounters in her everyday life, usually influenced by her extended family and friends. In the past we’ve seen her deal with her son’s imprisonment and subsequent emigration with his father, her daughter’s pregnancy and marriage at just 18, the disappearance of her brother and the death of her beloved – but unintelligible – father, only for him to resurrect at the funeral.

Tonight, as we rejoin the Morrises, the Morgans and the Koshes, Stella is sporting a new hairdo and is putting all of her efforts into her nursing degree – but the arrival of a handsome and newly-single lawyer may distract her. Elsewhere, Aunty Brenda’s wayward daughter shows up, and Big Alan is told to put Little Alan on a diet.

Also today: Richard Osman, Roisin Conaty and Joan Bakewell try to put their pet hates into Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Beverley Callard gets a grilling on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Dara Ó Briain and Sharon Horgan are on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm); there’s a compilation of the best bits of the most recent series of QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Graham Norton welcomes Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh, Katy B, Thierry Henry (yes, it rhymes) and Lee Mack onto his show at 10:35pm on BBC1.

If may be worth noting that some of your TV guides might say that the Celebrity Big Brother Final is on tonight on Channel 5. The series has been extended, and will now finish next Wednesday (29th January).

Are you particularly looking forward to any of these shows or is there something else from the world of TV which you want to have your say about? Feel free to comment below or tweet me –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Splash! – Thanks to Matt Frost, ©ITV; The Musketeers – Thanks to Steve Neaves, ©BBC; Russia on Four Wheels – Thanks to BBC, ©Simon Phillips; The Naked Rambler – Thanks to BBC, ©Oblong Films; The National Television Awards – ©ITV; Benidorm – Thanks to ITV, ©Tiger Aspect; Stella – Thanks to Sky, ©www.andyshortphotography.co.uk.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 132 other followers