TV Highlights (8th – 14th June)

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – with the finale of Talent and the return of both Big Brother and the Drop.

Saturday 8th June

Britain’s Got Talent: The Final

ITV, 7:30pm

After weeks of seeing the weird and wonderful ‘talents’ which the people of Britain have to offer, this year’s BGT comes to a close with a two-and-a-half-hour long Final, where we will find out who has won that £250,000 prize and a spot on the bill at this year’s Royal Variety Performance.

The line-up for this year’s Final is pretty impressive, with a health mix of many talents – not just the usual singers and dancers which we are accustomed to. Of course, there are still some (very good) singers in the Final, and here they are:

Richard & Adam

Arisxandra Libantino

Gabz Gardiner

Luminites

Asanda Jezile

Jordan O’Keefe

Okay, so there are quite a lot of singers, but, as I said, they are all very good. I know that a lot of them will go on to be very successful – Simon Cowell himself has already expressed an interest in signing up Luminites and Gabz Gardiner. The younger singers, like Arisxandra and Asanda, are exceptionally talented (especially considering their age) but I think their recognition will come in a few years’ time.

Surprisingly, the only dancers in the line-up are Pre Skool and the rest are more ‘variety’ acts. There’s comedian Jack Carroll, impressionist Francine Lewis and shadow theatre group Attraction. If you’ve read my previous reviews of Britain’s Got Talent, you’ll know that I’m not a huge fan of Jack and I think that calling him ‘a comedy genius’ and ‘the next Peter Kay’ is a stretch. He’s popular, though (one person has even placed a £10,000 bet on him winning) so he may just snatch the title. Everyone is saying that Attraction  are the clear winners and, to an extent, I agree: their act is very unique to the competition and their talent is incredible. The only obstacle which I think they will have to overcome is their nationality – being from Hungary, a lot of people are up in arms about their temerity to enter a British talent show. Personally, I don’t see a problem – I’m just overjoyed that BGT has given them a platform to showcase their act. However, my personal favourite (and the act for which I will probably vote on the night) is Francine. Everything about her is fantastic – anyone who has seen her on More Talent or Loose Women this week will have gauged that she is a very down-to-earth and humble person with an incredible talent. She can not only impersonate instantly recognisable stars with precision, she also manages to produce, with the help of her cousin, a very funny and slightly tongue-in-cheek script. Like I said, I hope she wins, but even if she doesn’t, she will go onto success – after all, 2010 finalist Paul Burling got his own primetime Christmas show in the same year (even if it was a bit disappointing).

Of course, it’s not just the performances of the finalists which we can look forward to on Saturday night: Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift and K-Pop star Psy will all be taking to the stage; we’ll discover who the Wildcard act is (my money is on either ventriloquist Steve Hewlett or another of the singers: Rosie O’Sullivan, Robbie Kennedy or Alice Fredenham).

Plus, Simon announced on last Saturday’s Britain’s Got More Talent that an announcement will be made on tonight’s Final about next year’s line-up – that’s including judges and presenters. Surely no one will get their P45 on-air?

Also today: Tim Burton’s remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Channel 5, 4:40pm); Stephen Mulhern will be having a talk with Ant & Dec, the judges and tonight’s BGT winner in Britain’s Got More Talent (ITV2, 10:00pm); and BBC2’s History of the Eagles explores the popularity of the US rock band (10:00pm).

Saturday 9th June

Tipping Point: Lucky Stars 

ITV, 7:00pm

This is just another name for a celebrity special of teatime gameshow Tipping Point.

I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of Tipping Point but I do sometimes catch the end of it when a switch over for The Chase, and it has grown on me. The game involves contestants answering general knowledge questions in order to earn coins. These coins are worth £100 each (£50 in the regular series) and are then deposited into a giant arcade-style penny-pushing machine. In each round, a player is eliminated until only one is left. That surviving player then enters the Final Round and, by answering a series of questions, aims to get the jackpot counter back out of the machine – if they do this, then they will win £20,000 (the top prize is normally £10,000). It’s pretty straight forward but not particularly exhilarating.

This episode sees Sky Sports’ Chris Kamara, Countdown’s Rachel Riley and former I’m a Celebrity… Queen, Stacey Solomon take part. In the future eleven episodes, we can expect to see lots of Loose Women, Dancing on Ice stars and ITV soap actors. And bearing in mind that participants Denise Welch and Suzanne Shaw both fit into all three categories, the variety of contestants is not particularly large. It should be quite fun, though.

Also today: Liz Bonnin presents two-part documentary Operation Snow Tiger (BBC2, 8:00pm); David Suchet is back as Agatha Christie’s eponymous Belgian sleuth, Poirot (ITV, 8:00pm); aviation troubles are investigated in Terror in the Skies (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Professor Iain Stewart focuses on Africa for the first episode of Rise of the Continents (BBC2, 9:00pm); seemingly gripping French thriller The Returned begins on Channel 4 (9:00pm); one-off musical extravaganza Bollywood Carmen Live (BBC3, 9:00pm); Dan Snow fronts D-Day: The Last Heroes (BBC1, 9:10pm); and 2008 thriller Law Abiding Citizen is on Channel 4 at 10:10pm.

Monday 10th June

Dates

Channel 4, 10:00pm

As part of Channel 4’s Dating Season, Dates is a series of nine one-off dramas about people looking for love.

Written by Skins creator Bryan Elsley, Dates features a host of stars – Sheridan Smith, Montana Thompson (remember Justine from Tracy Beaker?) and Fresh Meat’s Greg McHugh and Gemma Chan, to name just a few – who play people who are just coming onto the dating scene, and with mixed results. Over the nine episodes, the individual stories will begin to intertwine and we will discover'Dates' - Channel 4, 10:00pm more about the characters.

In this opening episode, Will Mellor stars as David, a Yorkshire lorry driver who is beginning to  experiment with internet dating. When he arranges to meet Mia (played by Oona Chaplin), he realises that he may have taken on more than he can handle.

Also today: Rav Wilding is back with another series of Crimewatch Roadshow (BBC1, 9:15am); Dame Judi Dench guest stars in the final episode of the far from ‘dench’ Vicious (ITV, 9:00pm); Big Fat Gypsy Weddings: Life on the Run (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Karl gets a promotion in the last in the series of The Job Lot (ITV, 9:30pm); 2004 is the focus of another What a Load of Buzzcocks (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Prince William comes to the aid of a boy in a quarry in new series Helicopter Rescue (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Tuesday 11th June

Agnetha: Abba & After

BBC1, 10:35pm

Agnetha Fältskog was already a success in Sweden. Her debut single shifted an impressive 80,000 copies when she was just fifteen-years-old. However, it was a chance meeting with Björn Ulvaeus that led to her being the Eurovision-winning, chart-topping superstar that we know her to be today.

It is this rise to fame which is detailed in this one-off documentary, for which the BBC has been granted access to Agnetha’s recording studio and she herself has broken her silence on her rise to fame, and the heartache that came with it.

As well as featuring interviews with many who know Agnetha – including her ABBA collaborators – Abba & After will see her and Gary Barlow, with whom she has duetted on her most recent album, meet for the very first time.

Also today: Gibraltar: Britain in the Sun follows life in the British Overseas Territory in the south of Spain (Channel 5, 8:00pm); and Child Genius explores the lives of those partaking in a Mensa-organised competition to unearth the best young brain in Britain (Channel 4, 9:00pm).

Wednesday 12th June

The Apprentice

BBC1, 9:00pm

This week, Lord Sugar sends the candidates off to the Motorhome and Caravan Show, where they,Jason Leech - 'Apprentice' candidate as always, must showcase their best sales skills to make money and win the task.

I must say that my favourite candidate is undoubtedly Jason. I wasn’t too sure about him at first (describing yourself as having ‘effortless superiority’ is seldom going to gain you fans) but now I’m genuinely rooting for him – even though I doubt he has much of a chance of succeeding. I feel sorry for him, to be honest: he doesn’t know when to just keep his mouth closed and stop applying his patter, and if there’s been the opportunity to keep him out of the way of the customers (by making him work away in the kitchen, for example), the teams have taken it. Despite having not shown a shred of the aforementioned ‘effortless superiority’ which he claims to have, I just think he’s harmless – but if I was Lord Sugar, I don’t think I’d want him working with me…

Having said all that about the teams wanting to keep him out of the way of the customers, this week’s task will see him break away and actually communicate with people all by himself – and receive praise from Karren for it!

Also today: Ricky Tomlinson, Paula Radcliffe and Strictly’s Ola and James Jordan test their knowledge of their partners in All Star Mr & Mrs (ITV, 8:00pm); Baltimore-set hit musical Hairspray is on E4 (8:00pm); action thriller Con Air (BBC3, 9:00pm); The Motorbike Show is back (ITV4, 9:00pm); and Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live has been moved to 10:30pm for the last episode of the current series – and, although I’ve quite enjoyed it, I doubt we’ll be seeing it again.

Thursday 13th June

Big Brother: Secrets & Lies

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Yes, it’s back – and apparently meaner than ever!

The fourteenth series of Big Brother kicks off tonight with the first of two Launch Shows, which will of course see its new host Emma Willis (poor Brian!) introducing the housemates who we will be getting to know very well over the next three months (!).

Channel 5 have confirmed that this year’s house will have a green feel, with the focus of the housemates’ time within the compound on ‘self-sufficiency and recycling’. The Good Life meets Big Brother, if you can imagine such a thing. There’s also the main theme of Secrets & Lies, which will make the housemates’ lives undoubtedly tougher and allow Big Brother to manipulate them and viewers alike. In fact, we’ve already been tricked by the Orwellian figure, as the original Eye for this series was fake, and a new one has now been released. Sneaky old BB, eh?

Channel 5 and Endemol really are pulling out all the stops this year and bombarding us with Big Brother programming. In addition to the main show and Bit on the Side (which Emma will host three days a week, with Rylan Clark and AJ Odudu replacing Jamie East and Alice Levine), there will also be: nightly live coverage from the house on digital channel 5*; Rylan presenting a special companion show at Sunday lunchtimes; and (perhaps most unbelievably) Big Brother’s Bit on the Psych, in which psychologists will discuss the minutiae of the goings-on inside the house. Now I quite like Big Brother, but Bit on the Psych is a bit much!

I’ve only started watching Big Brother since its move to Channel 5 and, although I always try not to, I inevitably get drawn in by it, and end up sacrificing my summer to watch it. I don’t like myself for liking it, but I do anyway.

Also today – I swear these are all real shows: New documentary Compare Your Life sees former CEO of confused.com Carlton Hood help families change their lives by adopting a comparison website-style outlook on life (Channel 4, 8:00pm); William and Kate: Baby Makes Three looks at how the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are approaching parenthood (Channel 5, 8:00pm); comedy film The Nutty Professor (ITV2, 8:00pm); Happy Families follows three British families and their everyday troubles (ITV, 9:00pm); Confessions of an Alien Abductee (Channel 4, 9:00pm) is pretty self-explanatory; hit film Billy Elliot (BBC4, 9:00pm); Mock the Week returns with a great line-up of Milton Jones, Josh Widdicombe and Katherine Ryan (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Sex Toy Stories sees eight volunteers help the Ann Summers company develop a new, well, sex toy (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Friday 14th June

The Million Pound Drop Live

Channel 4, 9:00pm

You may think that she’s never off our screens – and you’d be right! Davina McCall is back with another series of The Million Pound Drop, the quiz show in which contestants begin with £1,000,000'The Million Pound Drop Live' - Channel 4, 9:00pm and, over the course of eight questions, try and keep as much of it as they can by either spreading it on multiple possible answers or gambling and placing it all upon one answer.

There’s also a new twist this series. If a pair reach the final question, they will face a tough choice, which will result in either ‘double the money or double the heartache’.

The show is gripping and really interactive, too. You can contact the show via Facebook or Twitter to be in with a chance of having your message read out or displayed on-screen during the show. Also, you can play along with the show live – either on the show’s website or with the mobile app. Do well enough and you might have your progress mentioned by Davina on the show.

The Million Pound Drop will be on every Friday and Saturday for the next six weeks.

Also today: Ben Fogle explores the lives of people living around Poole Harbour in Harbour Lives (ITV, 8:00pm); Sarah Millican, Jon Richardson and Bob Mortimer are among the panellists on Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, 8:30pm); there’s the second Big Brother launch show (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe and Katy B drop by for The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm); and don’t pop out, go out or even ‘out out’ – stay in for a repeat of Micky Flanagan’s Out Out Tour on Channel 4 at 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.

I just want to take this opportunity to raise awareness for Alex Neal.

Alex is seventeen-years-old and a fellow student of mine at Sunderland College. She has a very rare bone tumour, called chondrosarcoma, which is growing around her brain and has already affected her eyesight and hormone levels, meaning she will have to rely on HRT for the rest of her life.

This tumour cannot be treated in the UK. Therefore, Alex must travel to Florida to have it treated there. The NHS have agreed to fund her visit – but only with one parent accompanying her.

£5,000 is needed to send both of Alex’s parents to Florida with her for this urgent treatment. At the time of writing, an incredible £1,646 has been raised but her family need more and have been campaigning by holding ‘Action 4 Alex’ car boot sales, cake sales and selling wristbands.

Any money would be greatly appreciated by Alex’s family. Even spreading the word and encouraging others to get involved would, I’m sure, be greatly appreciated.

You can join the ‘Action 4 Alex’ campaign on Facebook or go directly to her auntie’s Go Fund Me page to donate.

Thank you.

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