Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV, taking stops at the mystery world of Atlantis, an inner-city estate which is home to ‘some girls’ and finally the Mr Khan-led area of Sparkhill.
Saturday 28th September
The much-anticipated fantasy drama, featuring a host of legendary figures, finally arrives on BBC1 tonight.
Jason (Jack Donnelly) has been in search of his father for twenty years. However, that search is about to turn his whole life upside down as he becomes washed up on the shores of the mysterious land of Atlantis. Life is far from easy in this place: he has to contend with violence and deadly rituals from the moment he arrives, as he is faced with legends like Pythagoras (Robert Emms), Ariadne (Aiysha Hart) and Hercules (Mark Addy).
The BBC have clearly spent a lot of money on Atlantis (what with this and The Wrong Mans, it’s a wonder there was money spare for other shows) and it looks set to be a sure hit, especially seeing as many are treating it as the replacement for Merlin.
Also today: I Love My Country comes to an end (BBC1, 5:30pm) with Ashley Banjo, Duncan Bannatyne and Will Mellor taking part; it’s a period drama special of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6:15pm), and Xander has kindly dressed up for the occasion; the second batch of celebrities make their debut on the Strictly Come Dancing dancefloor (BBC1, 7:00pm); it’s Oritsé & AJ v Brian & Vogue in the Stepping Out final (ITV, 7:20pm); it’s bootcamp time at The X Factor (ITV, 8:20pm); Hello: A Portrait of Leslie Phillips (More4, 9:00pm) celebrates the life and career of the Carry On actor; The Sarah Millican Slightly Longer Television Programme (it’s basically Tuesday’s show but ten minutes longer) is on BBC2 at 9:30pm; Larry Lamb and Emma Bunton are on Through the Keyhole (ITV, 9:50pm); and Dara O Briain: Craic Dealer makes its TV debut (BBC2, 10:10pm).
Sunday 29th September
The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek
Live comedy trio The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek (Graeme Rooney, Paul Charlton and Kevin O’Loughlin) have now been given the chance to present their surreal humour to a wider audience with their very own sketch show.
As you can tell from the time that this show is scheduled, it’s not going to be the most near-the-knuckle material you’ve ever heard, but what is should be is a bit of fun – and isn’t that what comedy is intended for?
The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek will include brand new material from the trio, but just to give you a flavour of the weird and wonderful world you may be about to enter into, here’s a rundown of some of their previous sketches: gay vegetarian lions, adulterous Yetis and a psychopathic lollipop man.
Brace yourselves, this is something which we possibly have never seen before…
Also today: Find out who’s through to judges’ houses in The X Factor (ITV, 7:30pm); and Jonathan Ross, Sue Perkins, Lee Mack, Jo Brand and many, many more pop up on The Big Fat Quiz of the 90s on Channel 4 at 9:00pm – let’s hope it’s a bit better than last week’s 80s-themed episode…
Monday 30th September
Unfortunately this series seemed to pass by pretty much unnoticed last year. I admit that I only became a fan when the repeat run of the first series began. It’s a pity that more didn’t pick up on it, though, as it really is very funny. Hopefully more will catch on this year.
Some Girls centres around a group of four quirky friends living on an inner-city estate. There’s the dumb one (Amber), the disruptive one (Holli), the geeky one (Saz) and then the level-headed one, and narrator of the series, Viva. Not conventional names, you may think, but then these aren’t conventional girls. Yes, they may be dumb, disruptive and geeky but they’re all really rounded, too, and can be strangely moving to watch. Bernadette Davis (Game On) has written them all brilliantly, and they are portrayed perfectly, too.
The first episode of this series has been available on iPlayer since last week, but is debuting on BBC3 tonight. As we rejoin the girls, Viva is in a relationship, but is worried that her boyfriend is taking it too seriously, and Saz is once again questioning whether she is normal.
My guess would be no.
Also today: Real Rescues (BBC1, 11:00am), Four in a Bed (Channel 4, 5:00pm) and Oddities (Watch, 5:00pm) return; Zoe Ball reflects on the goings-on in the ballroom in Strictly Come Dancing: It Takes Two (BBC2, 6:30pm); A Question of Sport is back (BBC1, 8:30pm), with Michael Owen and Louis Smith; two-part series Broadmoor: The Inside Story begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Ax Men, following lumberjacks in their work, begins on ITV3 (9:00pm); reality series The Face comes to Sky Living (9:00pm); Russell Howard hosts Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC2, 10:00pm); and journalist and ‘lads mag’-advocate Martin Daubney presents one-off documentary Porn on the Brain (Channel 4, 10:00pm).
Tuesday 1st October
Sky Living, 9:00pm
This dramatic and often blackly comic series of one-off stories begins tonight with an episode entitled ‘The Psychopath Next Door’.
It’s not quite as The Shining-esque as you might imagine – on the contrary, ‘The Psychopath Next Door’ is set in a beautiful, seemingly idyllic close (not dissimilar to that seen in Mount Pleasant, actually). Marianne, Imogen and Catriona have been friends for a long time, and all live happily and peacefully on the close. However, their lives are turned upside down when the eponymous psychopath, Eve (Anna Friel, pictured), arrives and causes much anxiety and worry between the trio. What exactly is she plotting?
In the coming weeks, Drama Matters will see Suranne Jones play a fledgling judge in ‘Lawless’, Scottish footballer Gemma Fay as a referee-turned-plus-size model in ‘Rubenesque’, Katherine Kelly as a scorned sister in the eerie ‘The Last Witch’, and Russell Tovey and Keith Allen star in ‘Talking to the Dead’, based on Harry Bingham’s novel of the same name.
Also today: One-off documentary House of Surrogates (BBC4, 9:00pm); film Run Fatboy Run (E4, 10:00pm); and highlights of The Stephen Lawrence Unity Concert (BBC1, 10:35pm), which was held on Sunday in support of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and included performances from Ellie Goulding and Jessie J.
Wednesday 2nd October
The Great British Year
Each week this documentary series will show how the changing of the seasons affects our British wildlife, beginning this week with winter.
Beginning with New Year’s Day, this first episode shows how red squirrels, kites (pictured) and adders all cope with the ice and snow.
I’ve only seen a few clips of The Great British Year but it is clear that, just like all of the BBC’s other wildlife documentaries, it is going to be a fascinating insight into the behaviour of animals in extreme conditions.
Also today: Unsafe Sex in the City, following life in a northern sexual health clinic, is back (BBC3, 9:00pm); Mat Watson and Rebecca Jackson present new motoring show I Want That Car (ITV4, 9:00pm); and current affairs series Exposure, which earlier this year won a Royal Television Society award for its uncovering of the Jimmy Savile scandal, returns (ITV, 10:35pm).
Thursday 3rd October
Mayhem & Mishaps: Britain Caught on Camera
Mark ‘Chappers’ Chapman presents this one-off look at the everyday accidents we encounter in our lives, using home videos and CCTV footage to illustrate his points.
Some are shocking and others are just plain hilarious, but all have been caught on camera (no this isn’t a post-watershed You’ve Been Framed: why on earth would you think that?). Chappers also tries to recreate these mishaps by setting up stunts and visiting testing units across the country, and trying to find out what we can do to stop these incidents from happening in the first place.
Also today: A new BBC3 series with a typical BBC3 title: Hotel of Mum and Dad begins (9:00pm); and over on BBC4, Dr Michael Mosley presents Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search for Modern Medicines (9:00pm).
Friday 4th October
Hands up, who’s surprised to see this sitcom back? So pretty much all of us, then? Good.
Yes, Adil Ray’s comedy about a Pakistani Muslim family attracted over 200 complaints when it began last year, with many upset at its farcical and, according to some, ‘mocking’ portrayal of Islam. It’s not the portrayal of Islam that I found offensive (I think people just weren’t prepared for a sitcom about a Muslim family), it was the almost complete lack of laughs. It just seemed to be another in the long line of BBC sitcoms which were barren of gags. Of course, since Citizen Khan ended last year, we have now been able to add The Wright Way and Father Figure to that list.
Anyway, the point is that the show is back and as we rejoin the Sparkhill-based family, Mrs Khan wants her daughter Alia to sign up for the local Muslim Academy – but Mr Khan has other ideas. Elsewhere, Shazia has invited her boss round for dinner, but can she count on her dad not to mess the evening up for her?
Also today: Unreported World returns (Channel 4, 7:30pm); the fifth series of Glee comes to Sky1 (8:00pm); Ian and Paul return for a 46th (!) run of Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Brian Blessed is in the guest’s chair for Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); 8 Out of 10 Cats is back (Channel 4, 9:00pm), and for once they aren’t playing Countdown; Elton John in Concert is on BBC4 (9:00pm); Jeremy Clarkson, Bill Bailey and Jimmy Carr discuss Kings in QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); David Mitchell and James McAvoy drop by for Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Kevin Bridges: The Story Continues, the stand-up’s 2012 show, is on BBC1 at 10:35pm; eerie thriller The Hand That Rocked The Cradle is on BBC1 (11:35pm); and one-off stand-up show Nick Helm’s Heavy Entertainment is 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: Altantis – Thanks to BBC, Urban Myth Films and Nick Briggs, ©Urban Myth Films; The Ginge, the Geordie and the Geek – Thanks to BBC and Yalli, ©Yalli; Some Girls – Thanks to BBC, Hat Trick and Des Willie, ©Hat Trick; Drama Matters – Thanks to Sky, Colin Hutton and ITV Studios; The Great British Year – Thanks to BBC BHU and Luke Massey, ©Luke Massey; Mayhem & Mishaps: Britain Caught on Camera – Thanks to BBC, Lion TV and Matthew Ainsworth, ©Lion TV; Citizen Khan, Thanks to BBC and Jay Brooks, ©BBC