Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV.
Saturday 20th April
The Many Faces of Michael Crawford
Ooh Betty! Tonight, BBC2 are celebrating the fantastic Michael Crawford by airing a repeat of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (the one where Jessica is born) as well as a brand new episode of its The Many Faces of series dedicated to the actor.
The one-hour long documentary will profile Michael’s career with focus of course on his role as the accident-prone Frank Spencer (in the aforementioned Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em) and his turn in Lord Lloyd Webber’s smash hit, Phantom of the Opera. For example, did you know that Crawford initially turned down the role as the Phantom, but after Lord Webber and his (then) wife happened to hear him rehearsing with a vocal coach, he was persuaded to rethink and was offered the job almost instantly.
Also today: The excellent impressionist Francine Lewis (who some of you may recognise from Very Important People) impresses the judges on Britain’s Got Talent on ITV at 7:00pm (my review of this week’s episode is here); The Voice UK has waved its white flag and is now on at the later time of 8:20pm, BBC1; and Steve Coogan, Saoirse Ronan and will.i.am are all on the sofa for The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:30pm).
Sunday 21st April
Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero
However, the main aim of this two-part series is to discover more about Alfred Russell Wallace. ‘Who?’ you’re probably saying – and that’s because he is little-known, despite having theorised evolution at around the same time as Charles Darwin, who I’m sure you’re most familiar with. Bill wants to pay tribute to Wallace, as he is too often over looked and seldom credited for his theory.
Usually my attitude towards nature documentaries is, If David Attenborough isn’t involved then I’m not watching it. However, Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero seems to be quite a good programme. Not only have we the studies of the weird and wonderful creatures which have been filmed along the way, but we have a lesson about Wallace and a somewhat eccentric presenter, whose humour and enthusiasm will no doubt make it a worthwhile watch.
Also today: Jonathan Edwards hosts coverage of the London Marathon (BBC1, 8:30pm); Jurassic Park is on ITV at 3:55pm; and Jonathan Ross celebrates the work of Alfred Hitchcock in Perspectives (ITV, 10:00pm).
Monday 22nd April
I sort of wanted to avoid writing about Broadchurch – I didn’t want to have to read about it and risk discovering who Danny Latimer’s elusive killer is. So, forgive me if the following synopsis doesn’t offer much insight into this weeks’ episode. Then again, I’m sure you want spoilers just as little as I do.
Broadchurch has been a brilliantly gripping drama, throwing viewers clues and red herrings week after week, therefore keeping us on the edge of our seats. It’s also made me not be able to watch Birds of a Feather without thinking of Pauline Quirke as anything other than a twisted bitch.
Of course, as this is the last episode, the killer will be revealed: could it be Mark or Chloe (Danny’s dad and sister), Nige (Mark’s colleague); Reverend Paul Coates; or possibly DI Alec Hardy or DS Ellie Miller, both of whom are investigating the case. Hardy’s name has been discussed but I don’t remember Ellie ever having been looked into. Could it be that, as a friend of the Latimer family, she has managed to remove her name from the list of suspects by investigating the case?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Also today: Sandi Toksvig’s quite entertaining quiz show (even if it was only me who thought of it that way), 1001 Things You Should Know begins its second series (Channel 4, 3:30pm); and Ben Fogle visits Australia’s Restoration Island in the first of his new series, New Lives in the Wild (Channel 5, 9:00pm).
Tuesday 23rd April
The Wright Way
From the anarchic Young Ones to the masterful Blackadder, Ben Elton has already well and truly left his mark on British comedy. However, he’s back with another tonight: The Wright Way, focusing on a Head of Health & Safety whose family and colleagues make his life the chaotic mess that it is.
The Wright Way seems very much like The Thin Blue Line – another of Elton’s sitcoms which was set in a police station, with an array of brilliant characters occupying it (most notably, James Dreyfus as the too-camp-to-be-heterosexual-yet-apparently-heterosexual PC Kevin Goody). However, their workplace settings aren’t the only things which link these two shows: they also star David Haig (DI Derek ‘Stop Fannying About’ Grimm in TTBL, Gerald Wright in TWW) and Mina Anwar (TTBL’s Constable Maggie Habib, TWW’s Malika). Both Gerald (centre, left) and Malika (centre, right) are fiercely passionate about the upholding of Health & Safety regulations, so it would be fair to suggest that this is where most of the comedy will stem from.
I’ll give any comedy a go. However, the fact that The Wright Way has been penned by Ben Elton makes me even more eager to watch it. Despite his track record, though, I do worry that it is going to be filled with stock characters and (as The Telegraph’s James Walton dubbed Life of Riley in 2009) ‘another half-an-hour firmly on Planet Sitcom: that strange world where people behave not like anybody in real life, but merely like people in other sitcoms.’ I really hope I’m proven wrong.
Also today: the only show where it’s acceptable to expose your genitals via webcam, Embarrassing Bodies: Live From the Clinic returns (Channel 4, 8:00pm); the final episode of The Great British Sewing Bee is on BBC2 at 8:00pm; find out what repercussions Mandy faces in the last in the series of The Syndicate (BBC1, 9:00pm); and Edward VIII’s Murderous Mistress (Channel 4, 9:00pm) explores the story behind an affair which the monarch apparently had before his ascension to the throne.
Wednesday 24th April
10 O’Clock Live
Channel 4, 10:00pm
Who else remembers Channel 4’s huge campaign in 2011 for 10 O’Clock Live? They advertised it on TV, in newspapers and on billboards, all ready for the opening episode. Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell, Charlie Brooker and Lauren Laverne from BBC 6 Music were all about to have our sides splitting with their satirical take on the week’s big news.
Two years on, we’re still waiting for that to happen.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little too harsh. I actually like 10 O’Clock Live and am quite glad that it’s back for a third year. I just hope they get it right this time. All of the presenters have their own qualities to contribute. David (far left) chairs the often heated discussion between guests, and regularly drops his (in Jimmy’s words) ‘logic bombs’, as he does on almost every panel show he appears on – so pretty much every panel show. Charlie (second left) delivers his weekly monologues (read rants), fuelled by irritation and often a want to point out the complete hypocrisy of the nation. Lauren Laverne (second right) appears to keep the show running, introducing topics and chipping in on the rare occasion that the boys haven’t anything to say. Many have pointed out that Lauren is a bit redundant on 10 O’Clock Live but I’m not going to be so unkind – mainly because she’s from Sunderland. Jimmy’s (yes, you guessed it, far right) opening monologues are always a treat, as are his sketches later in the show (which more often than not involve him donning some ridiculous costume).
10 O’Clock Live is certainly worth a try. Hopefully it will be third time lucky for the quartet and they will manage to strike the balance exactly right this time. They’ve produced memorable moments before (Charlie’s ‘Witch Hunt’ rhyme and Jimmy’s now infamous mocking of Barclays’ 1% tax scheme), and fingers crossed the next eight weeks will deliver many more.
Also today: Billy Connolly narrates Great Bear Stakeout, a two-part documentary about Alaskan grizzly bears (BBC1, 9:00pm); and, having been a victim of a road accident herself, Sophie Morgan investigates car collisions involving young people in Licence to Kill (BBC3, 9:00pm).
Thursday 25th April
The Politician’s Husband
The Politician’s Husband (a companion to the multi-award-winning The Politician’s Wife) has been written by Paula Milne and centres around Aiden Hoynes (Broadchurch’s David Tennant) and Freya Gardner (Appropriate Adult’s Emily Watson), who are the golden couple of British politics.
After a failed attempt at leadership, Hoynes is thrown into political obscurity while his wife is appointed to Cabinet. She must choose either to bring to fruition the career she has for so long wished or support her husband at home, and therefore save her marriage.
Over the three-part series, we find out whether Hoynes and Gardner’s relationship is affected by the decision she has made.
Also today: Abby and Brittany: Joined for Life follows conjoined twins as they graduate from college (BBC3, 9:00pm); Ladyboys returns to Sky Living for a second series (9:00pm); Russell Howard’s Good News is back (BBC3, 10:00pm); and so is traditional sketch show Watson & Oliver (BBC2, 10:00pm).
Friday 26th April
Ben Earl: Trick Artist
Channel 4, 9:00pm
Whether it’s The Incredible Mr Goodwin, Derren Brown or Dynamo, magicians are undoubtedly popular at the minute. Therefore, Channel 4 have commissioned Ben Earl to produce a four-part series all about…magic!
Every week, Ben will be presenting a show from a warehouse, where he will perform tricks based on various themes. This week, it is that of Crime (next week, it’s Art) and we witness the illusionist catch a speeding bullet, teach an audience member how to pickpocket and leap from the top of a speeding car.
Also today: Iceland’s volcanic activity is investigated in Iceland: Ash Cloud Apocolypse (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Masterchef reaches the last of the semi-finals (BBC1, 8:30pm); docu-drama The Genius of Turner: Painting the Industrial Revolution looks at the works of JMW Turner (BBC2, 9:00pm); Sarah Millican, JLS and Laura Mvula take a seat on the Chatty Man sofa (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Lewis Hamilton, Dara O Briain, Pedro Almodovar and Alison Moyet are all dropping in for a chat 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.