This Week in TV – 22nd – 28th February

Following on from a week that showed how great TV can be (Andrew Marr’s Jonathan Ross Show appearance, Sunday’s Call the Midwife and Emmerdale’s current HIV storyline) while also plumbing the depths of tedium (Splash!, Andrew Sachs’s interview on This Morning and Alex Turner’s BRITs acceptance speech), here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 22nd February

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

ITV, 7:00pm

After a four year hiatus, Ant and Dec returned with their Saturday Night Takeaway last year and stayed true to form by attracting a plethora of stars to take part, with Mila Kunis, Simon Cowell, One Direction, Robbie Williams and Ricky Gervais all making an appearance.

One of last year’s guests, Michael Buble, makes a'Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway' - ITV, 7:00pm reappearance this week as he steps into the voiceover booth to be the Guest Announcer and also provides the always fabulous End of the Show-Show. Elsewhere, Ashley Roberts will oversee another ‘Ant vs Dec’ challenge, the duo fool Holly Willoughby on the set of Surprise Surprise, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford take part in ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Outta Me Ear’, Little Ant & Dec cause trouble at the BAFTAs.

Of course, there’ll be lots of other surprises for the audience – both at home and in the studio – and probably a mention of Ant’s ‘thumb situation’ too.

Also today: An I’m a Celebrity… themed edition of The Cube: Celebrity Special (ITV, 6:00pm); the last of the blind auditions in The Voice UK (BBC1, 7:00pm); the last in the current series of Take Me Out (ITV, 8:20pm); and Jack Whitehall and McBusted join Jonathan Ross for a natter (ITV, 9:50pm).

Sunday 23rd February

Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole

BBC1, 4:15pm

Intrepid presenter Steve Backshall sets off on another Deadly 60 mission in this programme, and as'Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole' - BBC1, 4:!5pm the title suggests he’s embarking on a trek across the world – from the North to the South Pole.

Along the way, Steve will risk encountering some of the world’s most dangerous animals. Beginning in the Arctic, the presenter has run-ins with polar bears, walruses and whales.

Just like his previous missions, this isn’t going to be an easy one for Steve, but I’m sure he’ll manage. Just.

Also today: Dancing on Ice crawls towards its finale (ITV, 6:15pm & 8:30pm); former I’m a Celeb contestants Sinitta and Dougie Poynter are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Time Team (Channel 4, 8:00pm) focuses on Castle Drogo in Devon; hit comedy film Bridesmaids premieres on Channel 4 at 9:00pm; and TOWIE returns (ITV2, 10:00pm).

Monday 24th February

Impractical Jokers

BBC3, 10:00pm

For some reason, this hidden-camera comedy series went'Impractical Jokers' - BBC3, 10:00pm somewhat unnoticed during its first  series in 2012. That’s a real shame, as I can quite honestly say that I found it to be one of the funniest shows on TV in the last few years.

The set-up is simple: four friends and comedians (Roisin Conaty, Marek Larwood, Joel Dommett and Paul McCaffrey) are put into various everyday, but very public, situations and must challenge each other, with the aid of an earpiece, to do or say incredibly embarrassing things. If they succeed, they win points, but if they abstain or fail, they win nothing. The person who has the least amount of points at the end of the show must then undergo a terribly embarrassing forfeit – previous examples of which include stripping off in a launderette, performing a lapdance in a nightclub, and giving a motivational speech to a room of unimpressed businesspeople, using a presentation prepared by the other Jokers. The latter forfeit is in the clip below, which does contain strong language but is also very, very funny – and very, very juvenile.

Contains strong language

Also today: Operation Hospital Food with James Martin (9:15am), Countryside 999 (11:00am) and Antiques Road Trip (4:30pm) all return to BBC1; new quiz series Revenge of the Egghead begins (BBC2, 6:00pm); The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 7:00pm), Silk (BBC1, 9:00pm) and One Born Every Minute (Channel 4, 9:00pm) are back; and Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away! (Channel 5, 9:00pm) looks at the world of debt collection.

Tuesday 25th February

Strippers

Channel 4, 10:00pm'Strippers' - Channel 4, 10:00pm

This three-part series takes an in-depth look at Scotland’s strip club industry.

We begin by entering Diamond Dolls in Glasgow, which is run by Shelley and employs over 40 dancers. Here, viewers of the programme will gain an insight into how the performers juggle work with their home lives and what they really think about the industry they are part of. For example, Kim (pictured) explains why she sacrificed her gymnastics success for a life of lap dancing and Laefana opens up about how her job helps pay the debts from her nursing degree.

The punters of the clubs featured will also tells us why they like to go to such places as the series progresses and also visits Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Also today: Permission Impossible: Britain’s Planners (BBC2, 7:00pm); Kirstie Allsopp presents Kirstie’s Best of Both Worlds (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Max Hastings presents documentary The Necessary War (BBC2, 9:00pm); The Mentalist (Channel 5) and The Vampire Diaries (ITV2) return at 9:00pm after their mid-season breaks; Steve Jones presents new challenge series, Hair (BBC3, 9:00pm); and sitcom Pramface is back for a new series (BBC3, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 26th February

Party Wright Around the World

ITV2, 9:00pm

In this new series, former TOWIE star Mark Wright travels the globe to meet various groups of'Party Wright Around the World' - ITV2, 9:00pm friends in often very different locations. His challenge after he has got to know them is to throw them a party that they’ll never forget.

Yes, ITV really have spent money on this.

Mark begins his three month-long journey in Miami, but the series will also see him travel to such gorgeous locations as New York, Australia and…oh, Somerset.

I’m guessing the budget was pretty much non-existent by the time Somerset was decided upon…

Also today: Born to Kill? returns (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Festivals, Sex & Suspicious Parents begins (BBC3, 9:00pm); and comedy drama film Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor, premieres on Channel 4 at 12:05am.

Thursday 27th February

Bluestone 42

BBC3, 10:00pm

I wasn’t particularly impressed by this bomb disposal unit-set sitcom when it began last year, and'Bluestone 42' - BBC3, 10:00pm have to admit that I haven’t watched any episodes since the first. It must have proved popular with some, though, as it spawned a Christmas special and second series, which begins tonight.

Having made his debut in the Christmas episode, Matthew Lewis returns as the fresh-out-of-training Corporal Gordon House, nicknamed Towerblock, who is in possession of a new weapon: the Glock 17. This prompts Captain, Nick to try to prove himself by undergoing a weapons-handling test – but it doesn’t exactly go swimmingly.

Elsewhere, Simon attempts to improve his intellect by studying Art of War – and draws Bird into his obsession, landing her in trouble.

Also today: One-off documentaries Royal Funerals: The Inside Story (Channel 5, 7:00pm), Jumbo: The Plane That Changed the World (BBC2, 9:00pm) and The Storms That Stole Christmas (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and new factual series Junior Paramedics begins (BBC3, 9:00pm).

Friday 28th February

Jonathan Creek

BBC1, 9:00pm

Jonathan hasn’t done too badly with his sidekicks over the years, has he? Caroline Quentin, Julia'Jonathan Creek' - BBC1, 9:00pm Sawalha and Sheridan Smith all joined the sleuth from 1997 to 2013, and now Sarah Alexander is  helping out as Alan Davies dons the duffle coat for a series of three new cases.

In tonight’s opening episode, Jonathan, as always, must employ his magic knowledge as he investigates the mystery of an actress’ murder in her locked dressing room. The victim, Juno Pirelli’s wounds cannot be explained and no murder weapon can be found, yet, with her life hanging in the balance, someone must be accountable.

Jonathan has his own troubles, though: he and his wife Polly (Sarah Alexander) have recently suffered a sudden personal tragedy, and their marriage is about to be thrown into jeopardy as a series of disturbing family secrets are uncovered.

Also today: Mel C, Gyles Brandreth and Adam Hills are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); John Humphrys returns to his native Cardiff in Coming Home (BBC2, 8:30pm); Niall Ferguson uses cutting-edge technology to offer his perspective on World War I in The Pity of War (BBC2, 9:00pm); and a stellar Graham Norton Show line-up on BBC1 at 10:35pm, with Fifty Shades star Jamie Dornan, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Naomi Campbell, The Kaiser Chiefs and Ant and Dec all taking to the sofa.

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: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – Thanks to ITV; Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole – Thanks to BBC NHU, ©Johnny Rogers; Impractical Jokers – Thanks to BBC, ©Yalli Productions; Strippers – Thanks to Channel 4; Party Wright Around the World – ©ITV; Bluestone 42 – Thanks to BBC and Coco Van Oppens, ©BBC; Jonathan Creek – Thanks to BBC and John Rogers, ©BBC.

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