Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – with nights dedicated to the Quo, the Doctor and some yellow bear named Pudsey…
Saturday 9th November
Status Quo Night
BBC2’s celebration of 80s rock band Status Quo tonight kicks off with an edited version of Alan G Parker’s documentary, Hello Quo – previously exclusive to DVD.
This feature-length programme recounts the band’s story – from Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster’s beginnings as school friends to selling an incredible 128 million albums across the world, having added John Coghlan and Rick Parfitt to the line-up. There are also contributions from famous Quo fans, including Brian May, Paul Weller and even Sir Cliff!
Then, after Hello Quo, at 10:20pm, a selection of the band’s best appearances on Top of the Pops are presented in TOTP2: Status Quo.
Also today: Chris Hollins and Helen Skelton present The Lord Mayor’s Show coverage (BBC1, 10:45am); there’s a music-themed Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:40pm); Claudia steps in for Brucie (thanks, Claud!) for the seventh week of Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 6:30pm); Fool Britannia concludes (ITV, 6:30pm); Shane Lynch, Stephen K Amos, Colin Jackson and Emmerdale’s Fiona Wade are on The Chase: Celebrity Special (ITV, 7:00pm); it’s Big Band Week on The X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm); Huw Edwards presents The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance (BBC1, 9:15pm); and Jonathan Ross chats to Celine Dion, Andy Murray, Johnny Vegas and John Barrowman (ITV, 9:35pm).
Sunday 10th November
Sky1 HD, 6:30pm
If you liked Horrible Histories, I have a feeling you’re going to love this!
From the writers of the aforementioned CBBC hit comes Yonderland: a brand-new sitcom about a thirty-something mum who unexpectedly finds herself in a world of bizarre and idiotic characters.
Debbie is in her kitchen when an Elf appears from one of the cupboards, announcing that she is The Special One and is needed in another world. Intrigued, and deciding that her only other option would be to sit and watch daytime TV, she decides to follow the Elf through the portal into this other world.
She must help the people and creatures in her new world by solving their problems and trying to stop some of them from doing bad. The question is: will she be able to do it?
And the other question is: will she be back in time to pick the kids up from school?
Also today: The Puppini Sisters perform in Strictly Come Dancing: The Results (BBC1, 7:20pm); Robbie Williams makes his obligatory annual appearance on The X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm); Chris Naunton presents Secret History (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Richard Hammond Builds a Universe – the follow up to last week’s Builds a Planet – is on BBC1 at 9:00pm; this series of Downton Abbey ends with a feature-length episode (ITV, 9:00pm); John Bridcut presents one-off documentary Requiem (BBC4, 9:00pm); Our Soldiers: Return to Civvy Street (More4, 9:00pm) sees servicemen go back to civilian life; and the BAFTA-winning The Revolution Will Be Televised returns (BBC3, 10:25pm).
Monday 11th November
The Paul O’Grady Show
Cast your mind right back to 2005. Blair was still in power, Twitter was just an idea in Jack Dorsey’s head, and the names Susan Boyle, Harry Styles and Justin Bieber were unheard of outside of their hometowns. Paul O’Grady was also poised to be the host some new reality show called Britain’s Got Talent and millions of Brits were sitting down to eat their teas (sorry, Southerners, “dinner”)in the company of him and his dog, Buster. However, behind the scenes there were tensions: Granada – the show’s production company – had reportedly ‘forgotten’ to renew Paul’s contract, was paying him less than he wanted and would not give him more creative control over the show. So he jumped ship to Channel 4 – but The Paul O’Grady Show ended there in December 2009.
Since then, the bigwigs with whom Paul clashed so often have left ITV themselves, allowing him to return to the network to present Paul O’Grady Live and, of course, his award-winning and heart-warming documentary series, For the Love of Dogs. And now he’s back for more teatime fun with the twelfth series of The Paul O’Grady Show. And The Organ Game’s back, too!
Coming up this week, Paul will be welcoming Alan Carr, Sir Cliff Richard, Mel C, Patsy Kensit and many, many more onto his sofa. For his first episode tonight, however, Louis Walsh, Helen Worth and The Saturdays will be dropping by.
Also today: Neighbourhood Blues is back (BBC1, 9:15am); Peter Andre presents a new series of 60 Minute Makeover (ITV, 2:00pm); Jimmy McGovern’s daytime drama Moving On returns (BBC1, 2:15pm); Got Thin: Got Fat Again! (Channel 5, 9:00pm) follows Big Brother star Josie Gibson and her weight problems; Michael Bolton hosts Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC2, 10:00pm) – which will presumably be less eventful than last week; one-off documentary Storyville (BBC4, 10:00pm) tells the story of an ambitious entrepreneur; and video showcase The Shooting Gallery (Channel 4, Midnight) begins.
Tuesday 12th November
Jason Cook’s popular sitcom about a North-Eastern family returns for a second series.
Starring comedians Chris Ramsey and Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) alongside Kimberley Nixon, Gina McKee and Cook himself, Hebburn hit our screens last year and, while some local residents took objection, it was generally well received – so much so that it was named Best New TV Sitcom in the British Comedy Guide’s annual awards and was swiftly commissioned for this second series and a Christmas special.
As we left the Pearsons in the first series, Jack and Sarah (Ramsey and Nixon) were getting married – for the second time. Only this time the family knew about it – the first time, it was secret. Of course, the wedding day also saw Jack’s dad, Joe, have a stroke, so as we rejoin the family, mum Pauline is having to return to work – but is struggling. Elsewhere, pregnant Sarah is becoming more anxious to move out and Granny Dot has a windfall!
Watch out for Geordie actor Tim Healy and Mackem actress Melanie Hill in this series, too.
Also today: Martin Lewis Money Show: The Twelve Saves of Christmas (ITV, 8:00pm); new documentary series All Aboard: East Coast Trains (Sky Living, 8:00pm); Strange Days: Cold War Britain (BBC2, 9:00pm); Mark-Williams Thomas and Natasha Kaplinsky present Missing Without Trace (ITV, 9:00pm); Snow, Sex and Suspicious Parents (BBC3, 9:00pm) follows young people misbehaving on skiing holidays; Richard Alwyn presents the first of three episodes of Cathedrals (BBC4, 9:00pm); and a treat for any fans of musicals as The Story of Musicals begins (Channel 4, 9:00pm) with a look at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the title of this week’s Imagine (BBC1, 10:35pm) is Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy and, finally, smash-hit musical Cabaret is on BBC1 at 12:05am.
Wednesday 13th November
Yes, after a very successful quarter of a century on our screens, tonight Belgian detective Hercule Poirot will solve his last-ever case.
In this final instalment, the immobilised sleuth and his old friend Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) must return to their first case in order to prevent a looming murder.
As well as Hugh Fraser and, of course, David Suchet, Curtain: Poirot’s Final Case stars Matthew McNulty, Anne Reid, Philip Glenister and Helen Baxendale.
Then, after the News, Being Poirot (10:35pm) sees the man behind the eponymous detective, David Suchet, set off on a personal journey to investigate the appeal of the character and why the Belgian will forever hold a place in murder mystery lovers’ hearts around the world.
Also today: DIY SOS: Million Pound Build for Children in Need (BBC1, 8:00pm); documentary series Tudor Monastery Farm (BBC2, 9:00pm) begins; 24 Hours in A&E returns (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Channel 5 shows one-off documentary JFK’s Secret Killer: The Evidence (9:00pm); Bouffants, Beehives and Bobs: The Hairstyles That Have Shaped Britain is on BBC4 at 9:00pm; and Jack Dee hosts the first episode of Crackanory (Dave, 10:00pm), in which comedy stars read humorous fiction for adults.
Thursday 14th November
Doctor Who Night
You can’t have failed to notice that this year marks five decades since William Hartnell first stepped into that blue phone box and the longest-running sci-fi series ever began. Well, tonight the BBC’s many celebratory programmes begin, firstly with The Science of Doctor Who.
Recorded at the Royal Institute of Great Britain, Professor Brian Cox takes the audience – both live in the lecture theatre and at home – on a journey into the wonderful world of The Doctor, revealing the physics behind the Time Lord’s space travel.
Then the tone is lowered somewhat with a repeat of a Doctor Who-themed edition of Never Mind the Buzzcocks. David Tennant oversees proceedings while his Who co-stars Catherine Tate and Bernard Cribbins (who I would pay to see smash a mug in Phill Jupitus’s face and then storm off) are joined by Jamie Cullum and Jo Whiley.
Also today: Chris Evans and Fearne Cotton present Children in Need Rocks from the Hammersmith Apollo (BBC1, 8:00pm); it’s the last in the series of period drama Breathless (ITV, 9:00pm); John Bridcut presents Britten’s Endgame (BBC4, 9:00pm); and documentary The Day Kennedy Died is on ITV at 10:35pm.
Friday 15th November
Children in Need
BBC1 & BBC2, 5:15pm
Yep, it really is a year since everyone was commenting on the nerve of the BBC to ask licence fee-payers to help abused children.
As ever, Auntie is going all-out to make this year’s Children in Need appeal the best and most successful ever. The fun begins with Terry Wogan and Esther Rantzen appearing on a special Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:15pm), Matt Baker and Alex Jones up the hype with The One Show (BBC1, 7:00pm) and then the six and a half hours-long extravaganza kicks off, with “Tezza” (I wonder if he’s receiving his usual fee this year…), Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton covering the first two-and-a-half hours.
Later, One Direction present with Fearne on BBC2 (10:00–10:35pm) before we hop back onto BBC1 for Terry, Zoe Ball and (a presumably very tired) Nick Grimshaw from 10:35pm until 2:05am.
Highlights will include specials of Room 101, Doctor Who, Call the Midwife, Strictly and Holby City as well as performances from JLS, Union J, Dido and, er, Harry Hill and Greg James & Russell Kane. Should be interesting.
The cast of musicals such as Matilda, The Commitments and Spamalot also lend a hand.
Also today: A new episode of The Simpsons (Channel 4, 6:00pm); Impractical Jokers star Joel Dommett presents the first of three episodes of Doctor Who: Greatest Monsters and Villains Weekend (BBC3, 7:05pm); Britten at the Proms (BBC4, 7:30pm); Paul McCartney in Concert (BBC4, 9:30pm); and Russell Brand, Adam Hills and The Wanted are on Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm).
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.