Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – with lots of Julia Bradbury, Jon Richardson and Elizabeth Taylor. Now there’s the line-up for a Celebrity Come Dine With Me that I would watch!
Saturday 20th July
David Starkey’s Music and Monarchy
In this four part series, starting tonight, Dr David Starkey tells of how British music, through history, has been influenced by monarchs.
The first episode sees the historian study some of our musical sovereigns – such as Henrys V and VIII – and how the music produced during their respective reigns helped other countries form an opinion of English life, whether that be a positive or negative one.
The series also features performances from groups such as Canterbury Cathedral, Eton College and King’s College Cambridge, as well as pieces from sixteenth-century composers John Dowland, William Byrd and Thomas Tallis.
Also today: ITV shows the first in the Harry Potter franchise, The Philosopher’s Stone (3:10pm), while BBC1 has that of the Indiana Jones series, Raiders of the Lost Ark (6:30pm); Denise Van Outen pops in for some more fun in the Your Face Sounds Familiar studio (ITV, 7:30pm); Radio 1’s Greg James and former Dragon, Hilary Devey, pair up for The Million Pound Drop Live on Channel 4 at 8:20pm; it’s Broadchurch v EastEnders as Carolyn Pickles and Perry Fenwick battle it out in All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 8:45pm); BBC3 gears us up for new Family Guy with Greatest Freakin’ Griffin (10:00pm); and John Travolta and Nicholas Cage star in action thriller Face/Off (BBC1, 10:50pm).
Sunday 21st July
The Secret Life of Uri Geller
Many don’t know that controversial spoon-bender Uri Geller (pictured) has been working as a secret psychic spy for the last thirty years. This one-off documentary tells the story of how that happened and how he managed to go unnoticed for so long.
Through interviews with Uri, his friends and colleagues, we will find out what his work involved and how it took him to three different continents in as many decades.
Also today: Romantic drama The Death and Life of Charlie St Cloud premieres on Channel 4 at 5:35pm; BBBOTS’ Rylan Clark, former Doctor Who actor, Colin Baker and the multi-talented Debra Stephenson all try to win that £20,000 prize in Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (ITV, 7:00pm); Sheree Murphy, Diarmuid Gavin and Johnny Ball, and their partners, have their relationships tested on All Star Mr & Mrs (ITV, 8:00pm); Arthur Williams pays tribute to De Havilland Mosquito, the World War II plane which he claims history forgot, in The Plane That Saved Britain (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Family Guy: Greatest Freakin’ Griffin concludes (BBC3, 9:00pm), before the eleventh season begins at 10:00pm; and Dumb and Dumber is on Channel 5 (10:00pm).
Monday 22nd July
Burton and Taylor
I love a good biopic!
This one-off drama, starring Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, tells of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s tempestuous relationship, with particular focus on the times that their paths crossed after they had separated.
In the early eighties, Burton and Taylor starred in a revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives. As soon as rehearsals began, it was quite obvious that things were not going to run smoothly: Taylor would often roll in late for rehearsals, having not bothered to learn her lines. Burton immediately put this down to her alcohol dependency and began re-evaluating his own relationship with drink.
Things seemed to be getting back on track: Taylor was now turning up on time and had begun to learn her lines, meaning the production could easily go ahead without a hitch. However, as the audiences flocked to see the show – and try to catch a glimpse of her backstage – she continued to be unpunctual and the critics responded negatively to the play. Audience members also began to pick up on the apparent parallels between the actors’ and their characters’ lives, something which did not sit well with Burton at all, so much so that he began considering cutting the play’s run short.
Burton and Taylor profiles this bittersweet time in their lives.
Also today: Secret Dealers returns to ITV (3:00pm); Julia Bradbury’s new gameshow, Take on the Twisters (ITV, 5:00pm) sees contestants face eight giant sandtimers (ITV’s attempt to go one better than Channel 4’s Five Minutes to a Fortune, maybe?); Julia Bradbury again, this time with Phil Tufnell and Phil Hammond, to raise awareness of Britain’s three ‘silent killers’ in Long Live Britain (THIS SHOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED); Botched Up Bodies is back on Channel 5 (9:00pm); 2008 is the focus for the last in the series of What a Load of Buzzcocks (BBC2, 10:00pm); Don’t Blame Facebook (Channel 4, 10:00pm) explores the dangers of social networking sites; and, to celebrate the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son, BBC1 will be showing Born to be King at 10:45pm .
Tuesday 23rd July
Why Don’t You Speak English?
Channel 4, 9:00pm
It’s a regularly heard question, isn’t it? It’s also one which many answer themselves with the narrow-minded response, ‘Well none of them can be bothered to, can they?’ This two-part documentary looks set to disprove that.
Why Don’t You Speak English? follows four first-generation immigrants as they learn to speak English by living with a family who apply their own ways to educating them.
With the immigrants hailing from China, Colombia, Poland and the Democratic Republic of Congo, this crash-course offers something for both themselves and the families they will live with. For the immigrants, it represents job prospects, a fresh future, or simply an end to isolation. For the English families, however, this is their opportunity to gain a first-hand insight into the life of an immigrant, particularly to understand how easy or difficult it is to fit in with a completely new community of people, and what we can do to make that transition easier for them.
Also today: Location Location Location’s Kirstie Allsopp presents Kirstie’s Fill Your House for Free (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Hunting the Doorstep Conmen follows the work of trading standards officers in North Yorkshire and Oxfordshire as they attempt to stamp out con artists who prey on the vulnerable (ITV, 9:00pm); Frank Bruno’s youngest daughter explores the complexities of her father’s bipolar disorder in Rachel Bruno: My Dad & Me (BBC3, 9:00pm); Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (BBC4, 9:00pm) tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1963 epic; An Officer and a Gentleman is on More4 (9:00pm); Alex Zane is back for more Rude Tube (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and new sitcom Badults begins (BBC3, 10:00pm).
Wednesday 24th July
Channel 5, 10:00pm
Okay, so technically this drama is Irish but I’m willing to just slightly ignore the name of this blog in order to write about it – because it sounds brilliant.
Love/Hate has run for three series on RTÉ One and, despite being met with mixed reviews when it debuted, is now highly acclaimed, having been awarded an incredible 19 IFTAs – that’s every single one that it has been nominated for! The second series, when it aired in 2011, was even the most-watched show in Ireland.
Starring Misfits’ Robert Sheehan and Game of Thrones star Aidan Gillen, the series centres around Dublin’s criminal underworld and, in the first episode alone, drive by shootings, prison releases, adultery and unplanned pregnancies are all dealt with.
Downton Abbey this certainly is not.
Also today: SuperScrimpers: Deals on Wheels (Channel 4, 8:00pm); the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC1, 9:00pm) begins with a look at Una Stubbs’s ancestry; Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (BBC4, 10:00pm); the return of Sky comedy-drama, The Cafe (Sky 1, 9:00pm); and Notes from the Inside with James Rhodes (Channel 4, 10:00pm) sees the pianist perform specially chosen pieces to psychiatric patients. Seriously.
Thursday 25th July
Catching a Killer: Crocodile Tears
Channel 4, 10:00pm
This one-off documentary investigates the cases which shocked the nation: those which saw the perpetrators feign innocence and upset before they were convicted of their crimes.
The programme features interviews with those involved with the case, whether from a journalistic point of view or as friends or family, as well as Simon Foy (former Head of Homicide and Serious Crime at Scotland Yard), who offers his own insight into ‘crocodile tears cases’.
The three main cases investigated in this programme are those of the Philpotts (pictured) (who, along with their close friend Paul Mosley, were convicted for the manslaughter of their six children in April 2012), Stuart Hazell (who was jailed in May this year for the murder of twelve-year-old Tia Sharp) and Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed (who were last year found guilty of the murder of their daughter, Shafilea, in 2003).
Also today: RHS Flower Show Tatton Park (BBC2, 7:30pm); a new series of Dara O Briain’s Science Club begins (BBC2, 8:00pm); Crimewatch (BBC1, 9:00pm); First Dates concludes (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and PhoneShop is back for a third series (E4, 10:00pm).
Friday 26th July
London Anniversary Games
BBC2, 7:30pm & BBC1, 8:30pm
Gabby Logan presents coverage of the London Anniversary Games, which will mark one year since the Olympic Games kicked off in the Capital, and made the country swell with pride.
Beginning today and continuing tomorrow, the Anniversary Games will see Usain Bolt and three of our Super Saturday stars – Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford and Jessica Ennis-Hill – all reunite to compete in London and help us remember a monumental summer for British sporting accomplishments.
Celebrations of the Anniversary Games aren’t just confined to BBC TV, though: there will also be coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live and your local BBC radio stations, where you can find out what the Games meant to your area.
Also today: Springwatch Guide to Butterflies (BBC2, 9:00pm); Jason Manford and Rhod Gilbert join Sean, Jon and Jimmy for some (unexpectedly successful and entertaining) 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm); another chance to see the first series of The Trip (BBC2, 10:00pm), while Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are busy filming the second; the TV premiere of 8 Out of 10 Cats star Jon Richardson’s 2012 show, Funny Magnet (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and horror film Paranormal Activity (ITV, 10:35pm).
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.