Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – from real car crashes on Sky to potential ones on ITV – in the form of Prize Island…
Saturday 26th October
Strictly Come Dancing
As the winter nights draw in (don’t forget to put your clock back tonight!), what better way to spend your Saturday nights than with Strictly – seemingly the only talent show on TV in which the judges don’t feel the need to orchestrate bitchfights, take forever and a day to make decisions or out Operation Yewtree suspects live on air (unless Sharon Osbourne meant something else when she called a backing dancing a “paedophile” last week…).
I’m much preferring this series of Strictly to X Factor – and it appears that you lot are, too, with the BBC1 show regularly getting over 1.5 million viewers more than its ITV rival. Of course, it could be argued that the ratings are academic as the two shows overlap now by a mere fifteen minutes, and even if they didn’t people would still be able to watch them both, such is the brilliance of Sky+ and the like, but they’re nice to hear about to gauge which is doing better.
So, what’s happening on Strictly this week? Well, Abbey and Aljaž are dancing to Olly Murs’s ‘Dear Darlin’’ while favourite-to-go Fiona Fullerton will be dancing with Anton to ‘If My Friends Could See Me Now’’. Meanwhile, my personal favourite (and, I think it’d be fair to say, the ‘Lisa Riley’ of this year) Mark Benton will be performing a Waltz with his partner Iveta Lukosiute to OneRepublic’s ‘Apologize’. It surely can’t top last week’s MC Hammer-inspired Cha Cha (pictured), though?
Also today: A whole host of record breakers battle it out in Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:40pm); it’s possibly the campest The Chase: Celebrity Special yet as Linda Robson, Christopher Biggins and Dancing on Ice’s Jason Gardiner and Ashley Roberts all compete (ITV, 7:00pm); and Naomi Campbell, Stephen Merchant and a third of the X Factor judging panel are on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 10:00pm).
Sunday 27th October
I’m writing about this new game show not because I think it is going to be any good but because I’m intrigued by it. I’m intrigued by how little faith ITV itself has in it.
Prize Island has been developed by Richard Osman (off of Pointless), is presented by Alexander Armstrong (also off of Pointless) and Big Brother’s (and pretty much everything else’s) Emma Willis and sees couples compete in a variety of challenges to win prizes. The twist? It was filmed in Mozambique. So, it may not surprise you to learn that it has cost ITV quite a lot of money.
But it seems that everyone is embarrassed by it – not least ITV, who postponed it from the spring to now – around six months later. It also doesn’t fill me with confidence that the show has not had any publicity or hype surrounding it, and has been shunted into this unenviable time slot.
I suppose we’ll have to wait and see if it’s a success. I’m going to go out on a limb, however, and say that it won’t be. At all.
Also today: New magazine shows Sunday Side Up (terrible title) with Stephen Mulhern at 10:30am and Sunday Scoop (a slightly more understandable title) with Loose Women Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams at 11:30am on ITV; Bill Turnbull presents Big Sing: The UK’s Top 10 Hymns (BBC1, 4:15pm); Great Continental Railway Journeys (with Michael Portillo) and A Very English Education (with Hannah Berryman) are on BBC2 at 8:00pm and 9:00pm, respectively; Bob Mortimer and Katherine Ryan are on Was It Something I Said? (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Scream: The True Story is on Channel 5 at 11:10pm.
Monday 28th October
Release the Hounds
Once again, an intriguing show.
In this one-off game show, hosted by Reggie Yates, contestants must try to unlock three chests which are filled with money. Sounds simple enough, right?
Wrong, because what the three contestants – and friends – must do to get this cash is work their way through a dark forest late at night, completing all manner of scary tasks to obtain the keys which unlock the chests. However, even when they get to the chests, there will be a pack of hounds waiting – and on guard. If the contestants manage to outrun the hounds, they win the money. But if they don’t…
Also today: Saints and Scroungers returns (BBC1, 11:00am); Harry Hill’s TV Burp comes to Gold (for repeats, I should add) at 6:00pm; Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green begins (ITV, 8:00pm); Ripper Street is back (BBC1, 9:00pm); one-off documentary OCD Ward is on ITV (9:00pm); John Hannah narrates documentary Timeshift (BBC4, 9:00pm); Strike Back: Shadow Warfare returns (Sky1, 9:00pm); and Tommy Robinson and Mo Ansar lock horns as they compare their views on British Muslims in Quitting the English Defence League: When Tommy Met Mo (BBC1, 10:35pm).
Tuesday 29th October
The Escape Artist
David Tennant and Sophie Okonedo star in this three-part, suspense-filled thriller about a gifted junior barrister who invariably manages to get people out of tight legal corners – thus his nickname, ‘The Escape Artist’.
The BBC seem to be keeping their cards quite close to their chest with this one – they’re not giving away too much plot. This has to be a good thing though: it means there’ll be more suspense and twists and turns packed into the next three weeks. We do know, however, that Will (Tennant) may soon regret using his excellence to acquit a man accused of murder as he soon feels the very serious repercussions.
Also today: The Great British Bake Off Masterclass (BBC2, 7:00pm); Autumnwatch (BBC2) and Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners (Channel 4) return at 8:00pm; The Wrong Mans (9:00pm) and The Sarah Millican Television Programme (9:30pm) conclude on BBC2; On the Run is on ITV, following its postponement in August (9:00pm); Disowned & Disabled takes a look at how children with disabilities were treated during the second World War (BBC4, 9:00pm); and Imagine is back (BBC1, 10:35pm), with Jimi Hendrix as its first subject.
Wednesday 30th October
I Lost Weight But Lost My Husband!
Channel 5, 9:00pm
You are forgiven for initially thinking that this is a Take a Break headline. It isn’t. It is in fact the title of a one-off documentary on Channel 5 (where else?) tonight.
I Lost Weight But Lost My Husband! meets a variety of people for whom weight loss has spelled the end of relationships. There’s: Cheryl (no, not the Royle Family character), who dropped an astonishing 24 dress sizes, but whose husband had an affair; Dave, who became so obsessed with his weight that he began to consider cheating on his wife, who had also shed the pounds; and Jo and Darren, who, after eleven years together, are witnessing cracks beginning to show in their marriage, but hope to stop this by seeking therapy.
Also today: The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow (Sky1, 6:00pm); Ben Fogle’s Animal Clinic (Channel 5, 8:00pm); the conclusion of what has been a fantastic series of Mount Pleasant (Sky Living, 9:00pm); and one-off documentary The Dark Matter of Love (BBC4, 10:00pm).
Thursday 31st October
This new comedy-drama has been described as the female version of The Inbetweeners, and it’s easy to see why.
As well as being executive produced by Inbetweeners co-writer Iain Morris and slightly naughty in its gags, Drifters is written by and stars The Inbetweeners Movie star Jessica Knappett, alongside Lydia Rose Bewley and Lauren O’Rourke, who also appeared in the film hit.
The series follows three young women – Laura, Meg and Bunny – as they leave university and begin to question their present and future in the big wide world. Along the way they try to figure out everything about their lives: from career prospects to lifestyle choices and who they want to have sex with.
All of the important questions in life.
Also today: Documentary series Jews on Bikes (Sky Atlantic, 8:00pm); Bedlam (Channel 4, 9:00pm) shows the day-to-day lives of psychiatric patients in a mental health hospital; Jonathan Rhys Meyers stars in the small screen adaptation of Dracula (Sky Living, 9:00pm); and this week’s Up All Night (Channel 4, 10:00pm) follows those who work around the clock in Manchester, and are on call morning, noon and night.
Friday 1st November
A League of Their Own
Sky1 HD, 9:00pm
Yes, another series of the hilarious sports quiz has almost come and gone, but before the final highlights package next Friday there’s just time to squeeze in this 30 minute special, showing the rally car race (from episode one) in its entirety.
Now, ALOTO fans will likely remember exactly what happened when James, Freddie, Jack, Jamie, Jimmy Carr and Amy Williams went rally car racing in Wales. Basically, Freddie Flintoff (pictured) crashed, meaning that a £100,000 car had to be written off. It was quite something.
Remind yourself of what went on during tonight’s special.
Also today: Chris Tarrant Goes Fishing (well he’s got nothing better to do now that Millionaire’s been axed, has he?) on Channel 5 at 7:00pm; Christine Bleakley presents travel series Off the Beaten Track (ITV, 8:00pm); Kirsty Young presents Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Michael Flatley is on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Britain’s Funniest Comedy Characters gets a repeat (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Jo Brand, Danny Baker and Marcus Brigstocke are on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); James Corden and Joan Collins pull up a pew for Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Pink Floyd: A Delicate Sound of Thunder is on BBC4 at 10:00pm; it’s yet another star-studded Graham Norton Show at 10:35pm on BBC1 as Sir Elton John, Dame Judi Dench, Jay-Z and John Bishop drop by; Stand Up for the Week returns, with new host Paul Chowdhry (Channel 4, 11:05pm); and comedy pilot Going Native is on BBC3 at 11:45pm. Phew! That was a long list.
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 – Thanks to BBC and Guy Levy, ©BBC; Prize Island – Thanks to ITV and Endemol, ©Endemol; Release the Hounds – Thanks to ITV, Sony Pictures Television 2013 and Gogglebox Productions, ©Sony Pictures Television 2013; The Escape Artist – Thanks to BBC, Endor Productions and Steffan Hill, ©Endor Productions; Drifters – Thanks to Channel 4, Zodiac Media Company and Pete Dadds; A League of Their Own – Thanks to BSkyB, Wales News Service and Tom Martin, ©Wales News Service.