Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV.
Saturday 6th April
Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway
It has been a fantastic series for Saturday Night Takeaway, which returned in February after a four year hiatus. This tenth season has seen Ant & Dec get their first number one single (‘Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble’ – the proceeds of which went to ChildLine) and consistently attract over six million viewers every week – meaning that they trounced BBC1’s The Voice last Saturday by one million.
Some features have worked better than others – the Undercover sketches involving One Direction and Piers Morgan were disappointingly poor while the opening audience participation and ‘End of the Show Shows’ have been excellent – but overall it has been a triumphant and welcome return for the only show on telly that says, ‘Don’t just watch the adverts: win them!’. Sadly, this week is the final instalment of this series, but ITV have recommissioned the show for 2014. Well it was either this or Red or Black – it was no contest, was it?
This week, Jonathan Ross steps into the voiceover booth; Little Ant and Dec grill Gerard Butler about his new film, Olympus Has Fallen; the ‘Ant v Dec’ victor is crowned; and the Jersey Boys cast perform at the end of the show – probably with help from the Geordie duo themselves.
Also today: coverage of The Grand National is on Channel 4 (1:00pm); Davina McCall puts players up against a 15ft hourglass in her new game show, Five Minutes to a Fortune (Channel 4, 5:10pm); The Many Faces of Sid James profiles the Carry On star’s life (BBC2, 7:30pm); and Ben Kingsley, Carl Froch, Audrey Tautou and Alt-J pull up a pew on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:20pm).
Sunday 7th April
If you have tuned in to ITV at any point this week, you can’t fail to have seen the trailers for the revived game show, Catchphrase.
Britain’s Got More Talent’s Stephen Mulhern steps into the shoes of former hosts Mark Curry, Nick Weir (‘Broken Leg Man’, remember?) and, of course, Roy Walker, to test contestants’ recognition of popular phrases and sayings. Of course, however, it often isn’t as easy as it seems.
The show, you may be pleased to hear, has been updated somewhat for 2013. Mr Chips looks like he’s ‘had some work done’, the graphics have been modernised and the money has improved! Yes, no longer shall players make it all the way through to the Super Catchphrase and win a couple of grand and a trip to Thailand. Instead, they could win a massive £50,000 – and a trip to Thailand…or any other destination.
I’m very much looking forward to the all-new Catchphrase beginning – not only because it is a great format which is always guaranteed to produce a few laughs (how can we forget the infamous ‘Snake Charmer’ episode?) but also it should put an end to those incessant bloody trailers.
Also today: Nick Hewer hauls an industrial saw to Sierra Leone for a young carpenter – honestly – in Nick Hewer: Countdown to Freetown (Channel 4, 7:00pm); new hidden camera show Off Their Rockers begins (ITV, 7:30pm); BBC1’s brilliant period drama The Village continues (9:00pm); and Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech premieres on Channel 4 at 9:00pm.
Monday 8th April
Filmed over a year, this new series follows criminals from across the country – from those who are entering jail, to those who are currently serving time, and repeat offenders.
The first episode in the three-part series focuses on Holloway Prison. One of the repeat offenders featured is eighteen-year-old Jayde (pictured, right). Jayde has previously spent time in jail six times and returns to Holloway just two weeks after her release.
The Prisoners seems to be in a similar vein to recent ITV documentaries such as Holloway and Her Majesty’s Prison – Aylesbury, both of which were quite successful, fascinating and shocking audiences in equal measure. I have no doubt that this series will have a similar effect.
The Prisoners has been postponed, owing to the BBC’s broadcast of Margaret Thatcher: Prime Minister.
Also today: Lucy Worsley investigates how the ill health of monarchs has helped to shape British history in Fit to Rule: How Royal Illness Changed History (BBC2, 9:00pm); ITV’s gripping Broadchurch continues at 9:00pm; Chris Terrill speaks to people who are failing to cope with life after the armed forces in Battle Scarred: Soldiers Behind Bars (Channel 5, 10:00pm); and Made in Chelsea starts its fifth series (E4, 10:00pm).
Later Live…With Jools Holland
Jools Holland (right) returns with another series of his musical showcases. This episode includes performances from Cat Power, the Strypes, Suede and Laura Mvula.
Also today: Kay Mellor’s excellent The Syndicate continues (BBC1, 9:00pm); Helen Czerski hosts Pop! The Science of Bubbles (BBC4, 9:00pm); and the fifth episode of The Matt Lucas Awards, postponed from last Tuesday, is on BBC1 at 10:35pm.
Wednesday 10th April
Victoria Wood’s Nice Cup of Tea
Viewers may be more accustomed to seeing Victoria Wood serving up tea in the canteen of HWD Components as one of the dinnerladies but in this two-part series, the multi-talented comedienne delves into exactly why us Brits are such obsessive drinkers of the stuff.
Over the course of two one-hour episodes, Victoria (below) travels the globe and speaks to stars such as Matt Smith and Morrissey in order to discover what our fascination is with tea, as well as its importance in history – how was it discovered and how exactly did it generate wars, but also help us win them?
Also today: Frank Gardner’s Return to Saudi Arabia (BBC2, 9:00pm) follows the BBC security correspondent as he returns to the country where he was shot almost nine years ago; 24 Hours in A&E is back on Channel 4 (9:00pm); Matt Morgan’s sublime The Mimic concludes (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and so does Anna & Katy (Channel 4, 10:35pm) – which, considering the huge talents of its stars, has consisted of mainly below-average sketches this series.
Thursday 11th April
The ninth series of the anarchic panel show continues as host Keith Lemon welcomes Catchphrase’s Stephen Mulhern, Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding and TOWIE stars Joey Essex and Sam Faiers to join in the fun.
This series has been consistently great but there is one thing: isn’t it time to give Jedward the push?
Also today: Channel 5’s Trauma Doctors (9:00pm), as the title suggests, follows doctors at one of the UK’s leading trauma centres; and new series The Sex Clinic explores the lives of some of the patients at London and Birmingham’s sexual-health clinics (Channel 4, 10:00pm).
Friday 12th April
The Security Men
Four security guards’ idleness is exposed in this one-off comedy, written by Caroline Aherne and Jeff Pope.
After the four guards decide to switch off the alarms in the shopping centre where they work in order to watch the darts, in full widescreen, HD, surround sound glory, they are horrified to discover that a theft has taken place at a jewellers within the centre. The men then create an elaborate ploy to get themselves off the hook.
As well as having been written by Aherne and Pope (who collaborated on 2009’s beautiful The Fattest Man in Britain), The Security Men features an all-star cast: Brendan O’Carroll leaves Agnes Brown’s dress behind to play Jimmy, Early Doors’ Peter Wight is Kenneth, Mount Pleasant and Not Going Out regular Bobby Ball portrays Duckers, and Life on Mars star Dean Andrews plays Ray. Take Me Out’s Paddy McGuinness also pops up as PC Clarke, who investigates the aforementioned burglary.
I’m really looking forward to The Security Men. I’m fans of all of its stars and think the plot is packed with comic potential. However, at only sixty minutes in length, I am slightly worried that that potential will not be fully realised. Fingers crossed, though, it will be better than Caroline Aherne’s most recent TV venture: the abysmal 2012 Royle Family Christmas special.
You can read my review of The Security Men here.
Also today: Brian Blessed is in the host’s chair for perhaps the most eagerly anticipated Have I Got News For You since Angus Deayton’s sacking (BBC1, 9:00pm); physicist Isaac Newton is profiled in The Last Magician (BBC2, 9:00pm); although there are twice as many of them than necessary, comedians Jon Richardson, Rhod Gilbert, Lee Mack and Rob Beckett all compete in another 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Not Going Out, which has been recommissioned for a seventh series and two Christmas specials, continues (BBC1, 9:30pm); Alan Carr somehow bags an exclusive chat with troubled former footballer Paul Gascoigne in Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Michael Buble, Amanda Holden and Jack Dee 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 about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer.