Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – from Chasers to truckers and real-life lovers!
Saturday 5th October
The Chase: Celebrity Special
When it began back in 2009, The Chase was quite a modest affair: it had a two week-long transmission, consisting of ten episodes, and just two Chasers in the form of Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett and Shaun ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Wallace. Since then, however, it has gone from strength to strength, with two new Chasers having been added to the line-up (Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty in 2010 and Paul ‘The Sinnerman’ Sinha in 2011) and the current run consisting of 150 episodes – not to mention a Broadcast Award under its belt, too.
So, it’s doing well but what if you haven’t seen it? Well, each episode sees a team of four players individually take one of the four aforementioned Chasers, playing for money which they have accumulated in the Cash Builder round (at £1,000 for each correct answer). When they take on the Chaser, they can either accept a lower offer – to take a step closer to home – or a higher offer – to take a step closer to the Chaser. Once the money has been settled, it’s down to the serious business of the contestant answering as many correct answers as they need in order to move down the gameboard and get home without the Chaser (who is just a few spaces behind them) catching, and therefore eliminating, them. Once all of the contestants have taken on the Chaser, those surviving enter the Final round, where they have two minutes to answer a series of quickfire questions, each one of which they get right earns them a ‘step’. The Chaser then gets the same amount of time to answer as many questions as they can, and if they achieve as many steps as the contestants, no money is won – but if they don’t, the team walk away with the contents of the prize fund split between them.
It really is simpler than I’ve made out.
This is the third celebrity series of The Chase and kicks off with Jon Culshaw, Charlotte Jackson, Tina Malone and Dr Hilary Jones (pictured above, L-R (excluding Bradley Walsh)) taking on the Chaser – but who will it be?
Also today: It’s a West End-themed edition of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:30pm); Claudia Winkleman steps in for a flu-stricken Brucie in Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 6:20pm); Dom Joly is once again hoping to Fool Britannia (ITV, 6:30pm); Louis Walsh has three aides on hand (isn’t that just a little excessive?) as the judges’ houses round of X Factor begins (ITV, 8:00pm); 2011 film Friends with Benefits premieres (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Chris Evans hosts the new (and more expensive: damn you, Camelot!) Lotto draw (BBC1, 9:10pm); Mollie King and Simon Gregson are on Through the Keyhole (ITV, 9:50pm); and wartime drama Bomb Girls returns (ITV3, 10:00pm).
Sunday 6th October
Was It Something I Said?
Channel 4, 10:05pm
Hosted by David Mitchell, this new panel show tests its participants’ verbiage mettle by having them identify the creator of various quotes, taken from sources as varied as tweets, autobiographies and sometimes even their own comedy routines.
Richard Ayoade (who, following appearances on Buzzcocks, A League of Their Own and many Big Fat Quizzes, is fast becoming a panel show staple) and Micky Flanagan act as team captains and in this episode are joined by Jimmy Carr and Charlie Higson. I really hope this works for Micky! After Epic Win, The Mad Bad Ad Show and I Love My Country, I think it would be fair to say that he has taken part in a hat trick of TV turkeys (get me with my alliteration, eh?). I mean I really liked I Love My Country but other critics? They really didn’t find the funny side. So hopefully it will be fourth time lucky for Micky – but then it looks set to be, if this trailer is anything to go by.
Was It Something I Said? is particularly notable because it is to be the first panel show in the world with which viewers can play along on Twitter – despite it not being recorded live. How it works is, whenever David poses a question to the panellists, he puts aside his hatred of the internet and encourages viewers to tweet their own answer to the show’s Twitter account. The more answers viewers get right, the more bonus content they are invited to unlock, including behind-the-scenes clips, pictures, deleted scenes and facts and jokes from that night’s panellists.
As with most panel shows nowadays, there will also be an extended repeat of Was It Something I Said? on Friday at 10:50pm, once again on Channel 4.
Also today: The first celebrity gets the boot from Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 7:20pm); Rageh Omaar presents The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors (BBC2, 9:00pm); it’s the battle of the big dramas as Downton Abbey (9:00pm) faces stiff competition in the form of the return of Homeland (Channel 4) at 9:00pm; Mark Lawson Talks to Bob Geldof on BBC4 (9:00pm); The Only Way is Vegas is on ITV2 at 10:00pm; and Myleene Klass hosts The Classic BRITs for a sixth year (ITV, 10:20pm).
Monday 7th October
Channel 4, 10:00pm
Yes, it’s not uncommon for them, but Channel 4 do seem to be particularly obsessed with sex at the moment. Following on from last week’s intriguing but ultimately shocking documentary Porn on the Brain, which sparked national debate when it aired, they now have Sex Box, which sees three couples having a bit of a love-making session in a sound-proof booth, and then discuss the experience with Mariella Frostrup, a panel of experts and a live studio audience.
Now what is abnormal about that?
Sex Box is all part of Channel 4’s ‘Campaign for Real Sex’ season, which is investigating how pornography is affecting British couples’ sex lives, and will continue all week in bitesize episodes of five minutes at 7:55pm.
Also today: Coleen Nolan makes a return to the now Denise Welch-less Loose Women panel (ITV, 12:30pm); Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (BBC1, 4:30pm), 999: What’s Your Emergency? (Channel 4, 9:00pm), Hollyoaks Later (E4, 10:00pm) and The Agenda (ITV, 10:35pm) all return; and hit thriller Reservoir Dogs is on Channel 5 at 10:55pm.
Tuesday 8th October
The Pride of Britain Awards
Fetch the tissues and prepare to feel guilty about your everyday grumbles as Carol Voderman presents the fifteenth Pride of Britain awards.
Each year the Daily Mirror, Lidl, ITV and Daybreak get together to champion the unsung heroes of Great Britain by rewarding them for their charitable achievements and outstanding bravery, whatever their age, and, even just for one night, letting them know that the whole country appreciates and respects their wonderful achievements.
This year’s event will see people awarded in a array of categories, with just some being: Child or Tennager of Courage; Fundraiser of the Year; Teacher of the Year; Daybreak Emergency Services; and Local Hero of the Year.
It’s also worth noting that the nominations for 2014’s awards are now open, so if you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their outstanding bravery or achievements, simply nominate them at the Pride of Britain website, and they could just be picking up an award next year!
Also today: Jungles Babies (7:00pm) and The Dog Rescuers (7:30pm) begin on Channel 5; US drama Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen, begins (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Art of Australia begins (BBC4, 9:00pm); and The Day I Got My Sight Back, about Ian Tibbetts’s surgery to correct his blindness, is on BBC1 at 10:35pm.
Wednesday 9th October
Fat for Cash
Channel 5, 9:00pm
Kicking off Channel 5’s Supersize Season this week is Fat for Cash: an eye-opening documentary about the girls with extraordinary figures and the men who pay to see them.
In this hour-long, one-off show, we meet women such as Jen and Christina (who weigh 30 and 40 stone, respectively). Dieting is simply not an option for them as their large frames are their sources of income. They make their money by flaunting themselves on the web, with Jen having to do as little as step on the scales and try to get a measuring tape around her huge thighs to get men paying to watch her online.
Fat for Cash also sees mom-of-three Christina embark on her new business venture: her very own subscription website, on which men can pay to see her in various positions – including sitting topless in a child’s paddling pool – simply because they can’t get enough of the fuller figure.
Along the way we also meet former supersize model Samme, who is beginning a series of special nights in Vegas entitled ‘Thick Sundaes’: obese women pole dancing. There’s clearly an appetite for it, though, as men are queuing up to pay the girls lots of money for their dances.
It may not surprise you to know that this documentary was made in America…
Also today: Big Star’s Little Star concludes with Sally Bercow’s child revealing an awful lot about mummy and daddy’s opinions on the Prime Minister himself (ITV, 8:00pm); The Great British Year continues (BBC1, 9:00pm), this time with the focus on spring; Whitechapel draws to a close (ITV, 9:00pm); Helen Castor presents the first episode of Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death (BBC4, 9:00pm); and fact-based drama Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight is on Sky Atlantic at 9:00pm.
Thursday 10th October
Stephen Tompkinson leads a cast of accomplished drama stars in this new five-part series about a Nottingham-based haulage company.
Each episode focuses on a different trucker, as each of them are about to undergo a major life change. Alone in their cab they are able to reflect on their lives and think about where they are heading – both geographically and emotionally. Each story is told with warmth, humour and just a tinge of sadness.
The first of those stories centres around Malachi (Tompkinson, pictured), who, despite splitting from her eighteen months ago, is still living with his wife and grown-up son. Sadly he is still under the illusion that everything can be fixed between them, so when she comes home one day with the news that she’s going to remarry, Malachi is heartbroken. Feeling like he is at a dead end, he begins to re-evaluate his life and how he can get it back on track. It’s not an easy ride, though.
Also today: Three-part series Trust Me I’m a Doctor begins (BBC2, 8:00pm); ITV’s ratings – but not critical – success Pat & Cabbage comes to an end (8:30pm); new dramas Breathless (ITV) and Countdown to Murder (Channel 5) begin at 9:00pm; and ITV2’s Dynamo rip-off – um, sorry, I mean brand new magic show Tricked – starts at 9:00pm.
Friday 11th October
Hens Behaving Badly
Channel 5, 9:00pm
This new series, postponed from last month, begins tonight with the focus on the hen night revellers in Nottingham.
Usually what the groom doesn’t know won’t hurt him but in this series the men find out exactly what happened during their new spouse’s last night of freedom, from exactly how drunk they actually got to whether they indulged in a bit of promiscuity while they still could.
The series meets all sorts of hens: the bitches, the brawlers and the control freaks. An example of the latter is Charlene, who we see this week struggling to make her friends stick to the itinerary she has planned for their wild weekend in Amsterdam.
And no documentary which shows the alcohol-swillers and constants partiers of this country would be complete without a trip to Newcastle, would it? So you can expect to see Hens Behaving Badly reinforcing the stereotypes set up by Geordie Shore and Bouncers in the coming weeks.
Also today: Richard Hammond and Carol Vorderman are among those discussing the week’s most talked about news stories on 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4, 9:00pm); BBC4 is showing Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story (9:00pm); Nicole Scherzinger and Gok Wan are on Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 9:50pm), while OneRepublic drop by to sing their terribly catchy song ‘Counting Stars’; Sandi Toksvig, Jason Manford and Trevor Noah discuss killers – but in a light-hearted way, of course – on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); Channel 5 show that they sure know how to attract the big names as Pete Burns and John McCririck are on Celebrity Wedding Planner (10:00pm); The Graham Norton Show returns with Harrison Ford, James Blunt and Jack Whitehall (BBC1, 10:35pm); BBC3 comedy drama Bluestone 42 comes to BBC1 (10:35pm) – read my review of the first episode here; and Kerry Howard stars in her own sketch show pilot, the imaginatively titled Kerry, on BBC3 at 11:45pm.
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 Chase: Celebrity Special – Thanks to ITV and Steve Peskett, ©ITV; Was It Something I Said? – Thanks to Channel 4, Mark Johnson, Maverick Television and That Mitchell & Webb Company; Sex Box – Thanks to Channel 4 and Richard Ansett; Fat for Cash – Thanks to Five and Ronda Churchill; Truckers – Thanks to BBC, Company Pictures & ALL3MEDIA and Robert Viglasky, ©Company Pictures & ALL3MEDIA; Hens Behaving Badly – Thanks to Five.