Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – with something for everyone, whether you like your reality TV, wartime dramas or daytime discussions.
Saturday 7th September
Strictly Come Dancing
It doesn’t seem two minutes since gymnast Louis Smith lifted that glitterball, but now a brand new batch of 15 famous faces are preparing to take to the dancefloor for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.
The 2013 season kicks off tonight as we see the celebrities arrive to be introduced to their dance partners and perform their first group number, which of course will be overseen by the fearsome foursome that is Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Mr Nasty himself, Craig Revel Horwood. But who are the contenders for this year’s prize? Well – ladies first – there’s…
Mrs. Peter Crouch, Abbey Clancy
Trying to avoid ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’, singer, Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Broadcaster, Vanessa Feltz
James Bond actress, Fiona Fullerton
Coronation Street actress, Natalie Gumede
Businesswoman and Dragons’ Den star, Deborah Meaden
Newsreader, Susanna Reid
Countdown’s resident maths whizz, Rachel Riley
And now for the boys:
Casualty actor, Patrick Robinson
Former rugby union player (or, as I know him, former Attitude cover star), Ben Cohen
Fashion designer and Next Top Model regular, Julien Macdonald
Golf pro, Tony Jacklin
Hairy Biker, Dave Myers
Hollyoaks actor, Ashley Taylor Dawson
Waterloo Road and Early Doors star, Mark Benton
God I love Mark Benton’s picture!
At the moment it seems that Natalie Gumede and Rachel Riley are the favourites to take the crown – before any of them have even taken to the dancefloor! Personally I think it’s far too early to tell. I mean, this time last year I’m sure people wouldn’t have tipped Lisa Riley to wow the judges, and might have had their money on Denise Van Outen winning.
The launch show also features performances from Rod Stewart, Jessie J and last year’s winner, Louis Smith, alongside his dance partner Flavia Cacace – who sadly will not feature in this year’s series.
Also today: James Martin serves up another series of Saturday Kitchen Live (BBC1, 10:00am); Vernon Kay and Mel Giedroyc are on That Puppet Game Show (BBC1, 5:00pm); stars of Blue Peter, EastEnders and the Harry Potter films take part in – a quite varied – Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6:00pm); one couple gets the boot in the fledgling Stepping Out (ITV, 6:30pm); there’s a Time Team Special on More4 (6:55pm); The X Factor continues (ITV, 8:00pm); Denise Van Outen and Jonathan Ross join Dave Berry and Keith Lemon for some more Through the Keyhole (ITV, 9:00pm); Italian drama The Young Montalbano comes to BBC4 (9:00pm); and film The Krays is on ITV4 at 10:15pm.
Sunday 8th September
Hitler’s Rise: The Colour Films
Channel 4, 8:00pm
This two-part documentary, beginning tonight, follows Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.
The first episode shows how the young Führer was for a long time pampered by his mother, despite failing at pretty much everything and avoiding military service. However, Germany’s defeat in World War I awoke something in him, and he soon became a strong politician and nationalist, leading a small right-wing group.
After being imprisoned in 1924, Hitler tried to resume his battle for power, but Germans tended to just regard him as a deluded soul who was merely on the periphery of the country’s politics.
Next Sunday, the second episode will document how Hitler quickly rose to power and, unbeknownst to Germans, prepared for war.
Also today: Bugsy Malone (Channel 4, 2:25pm); Nothing to Declare returns (Sky Living, 4:00pm); Robert De Niro is in Stardust (Channel 4, 5:20pm); find out which of last night’s auditionees progressed to Boot Camp in The X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm); Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy premieres on Channel 4 (9:00pm); Mr & Mrs Smith is on Channel 5 (10:00pm); and Rude Tube returns (E4, 10:00pm).
Monday 9th September
An unusual choice, you might think, but there is a lot to talk about with the return of Loose Women – as some panellists’ jobs appear to be in jeopardy.
Helen Warner, the woman who created Loose Women back in 1999, has recently returned to the network as Director of Daytime, having worked in a similar position at Channel 4 for five years. Therefore, she now has power over Loose Women again – and is reportedly not happy with how the show has gone off track and is no longer the current affairs discussion show which she played a part in creating. As a result, a huge shake-up is apparently imminent, and Carol Vorderman (pictured) – who began anchoring the show in 2011 – is favourite to go. Now I like Carol (in fact I like all of the Loose Women, now that Lesley Garrett is no longer there) so would be sad to see her be booted off the panel. If Warner’s vision of Loose Women’s future is one without Carol, however, so be it. At this stage, we’re still not entirely sure what’s going to happen.
As for the other Loose Women, could it perhaps be a case of ‘last in, first out’? After all, Shobna Gulati only began on the show earlier this year, and Sally Lindsay (who joined in 2011) seldom appears, as she asked for her hours to be reduced to allow her to spend more time with her children. Plus, Linda Robson now has her Birds of a Feather commitments (the revival for ITV is currently filming), so I doubt it would be a huge disadvantage to her if she left. As I said, I like all of the panellists – especially Sally – but wouldn’t it make more sense for one of the latecomers to go, rather than established members like Denise, Jane or Sherrie? Like I said, we don’t know what Warner has planned. One thing is for sure, though: there will be a big McGiff-shaped hole when Loose Women returns, as Celebrity Big Brother contestant Carol has quit the show after a decade. Shame.
Anyway, enough about the backstage goings-on, who’s coming up on this series? Well, the Loose Ladies return with Martin Clunes today and then the week continues with: Chatty Man himself, Alan Carr (Tuesday); Rylan Clark and Celia Imrie (Wednesday); Gok Wan (Thursday); and Whitechapel’s Steve Pemberton and Sheffield (well, according to Keith Lemon) chef Gino D’Acampo round off the week on Friday.
Also today: Dominic Littlewood presents Street Patrol UK (BBC1, 11:00am); The Alan Titchmarsh Show returns (ITV, 3:00pm); Alexis Conran finds out more about US con men in Hustling America (Channel 5, 7:00pm); and Blackout, a one-off docudrama about a cyber attack on the National Grid, is on Channel 4 at 9:00pm.
Tuesday 10th September
Building the Dream
In this new ten-part series, architectural designer Charlie Luxton helps people build their ideal homes from scratch, showing that achieving your dream doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank.
The series will see Charlie help people across the country – starting off in Hertfordshire – turn an empty plot of land into their dream building and finally own a place which they have helped create and matches their lifestyles.
Along the way, the budding homeowners are sent to visit others who also built their houses from nothing. However, it’s up to them whether they follow Charlie and his team’s advice or try to create a building their way.
Also today: New series Britain on Film starts by looking at how Look at Life mirrored the nation’s interests (BBC4, 8:30pm); and challenge series Nitro Circus returns to ITV4 (10:00pm).
Wednesday 11th September
The Wipers Times
Written by Nick Newman and Ian Hislop, this one-off wartime drama focuses on the true story of the founding of The Wipers Times – a trench magazine published between 1916 and 1918.
Captain Fred Roberts (Ben Chaplin) and Lieutenant Jack Pearson (Julian Rhind-Tutt) discover a printing press in the bombed-out ruins of Ypres in 1916, and decide to create a satirical magazine to raise the troops’ spirits. They call it The Wipers Times (after the way the soldiers pronounced ‘Ypres’), and its satirical style and wry jokes could be said to have influenced publications such as The Onion and Private Eye, of which Ian Hislop is the current editor.
The paper does the trick and proves to be a fantastic antidote to the horrors of war, although Roberts and Pearson’s superior officers don’t see the funny side and try to get the newspaper shut down – thankfully to no avail.
After the war suddenly ends, Roberts goes on to land his dream job of working for a newspaper. The question is whether he’ll be able to hold it down?
Also today: Gregg Wallace and Philippa Forrester present Harvest (BBC2, 8:00pm); Big Star’s Little Star continues with Duncan James, Sinitta and Robbie Savage and their kids (ITV, 8:00pm); Sarah Millican’s search of her ancestry takes her to Canada in Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC1, 9:00pm); we find out which celebrity has just missed out on the Final in the Celebrity Big Brother: Live Eviction (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Professor Alice Roberts presents Sex: A Horizon Guide, which needs little explanation (BBC4, 9:00pm); Nigel Harman joins the cast of the brilliant Mount Pleasant (Sky Living, 9:00pm); Jack Whitehall joins Adam, Josh and Alex to discuss who’s ‘being a dick’, and more, on The Last Leg (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and John Barrowman hosts the National Lottery Stars ceremony (BBC1, 10:35pm).
Thursday 12th September
Set just after World War I, this new six-part drama follows a family from Birmingham who are the most powerful gang of criminals in the city, the Peaky Blinders.
Thomas Shelby (pictured) is the head of the gang, who are so-called for their practice of sewing razor blades into the tips of their caps, and has recently come into possession of a crate of guns. He is urged by Aunt Polly, the family matriarch, to get rid of them, but Thomas isn’t someone who takes orders well. However, her advice may prove to be invaluable as Chief Inspector Campbell has just arrived from Belfast, and has been ordered by Winston Churchill himself to recover the guns.
Also on Campbell’s list of suspects is Freddie Thorne, a communist and Thomas’s former best friend, who is also having an affair with Ada: Thomas’s sister.
Just imagine Channel 4’s recent drama, Run – only set nearly a century ago.
Also today: Crimewatch (BBC1, 9:00pm), which includes the unsolved case of Nikki Allan, who was killed aged seven in Sunderland; documentary The Teenage Exorcists (BBC3, 9:00pm) follows three American teenagers’ work in London; Sound of the Cinema: The Music That Made the Movies begins (BBC4, 9:00pm); Pscyho prequel, Bates Motel begins on Universal (Sky channel 113, Virgin Media channel, 137) at 9:00pm; and Question Time is back (BBC1, 10:45pm).
Friday 13th September
Channel 5, 10:00pm
This brand-new reality series sees six celebrities train to become beauty therapists.
Guided by salon supremo Herbert Howe, stars Helen Flanagan, Yvette Fielding, Rustie Lee, John Burton Race, James ‘Arg’ Argent and Jody Latham will learn how to pluck, preen and pamper guests at their own spa.
Over six weeks we will follow the contestants’ highs and lows before one of them is eventually crowned the first Celebrity Super-Spa champion!
Also today: Gino’s Italian Escape begins (ITV, 8:00pm); Rylan Clark’s successor is announced in the Celebrity Big Brother: Live Final (Channel 5, 8:30 & 11:00pm); Dermot O’Leary presents the first ever BRITs Icon, with the award going to Sir Elton John (ITV, 9:00pm); Lee Mack, Bob Mortimer and Adam Hills are guests on a one-off 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown – of which there now seem to be more episodes than 8 Out of 10 Cats itself (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Noel Fielding and Colin Lake make their QI debuts alongside Ross Noble, Alan and Stephen (BBC2, 10:00pm); Bake Off stars Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are on Alan Carr: Chatty Man, along with the world’s most infamous twerker, Miley Cyrus (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Rylan and AJ talk to tonight’s winners and losers on Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Side (Channel 5, 11:30pm).
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: Strictly Come Dancing – All images courtesy of Ray Burmiston, ©BBC; Hitler’s Rise: The Colour Films – Thanks Channel 4; Loose Women – Thanks to Steve Meddle, ©ITV; The Wipers Times – Thanks to BBC, Trademark Productions and Helen Sloan, ©Trademark Productions; Peaky Blinders – Thanks to BBC, Tiger Aspect and Robert Viglasky, ©Tiger Aspect; Celebrity Super-Spa – ©Five