Category Archives: Channel 5

This Christmas in TV – 1st – 5th December

It seems not long ago that I sat down to write about what festive treats the TV networks were serving up for us in 2013, yet here we are again: entering the final month of this year, which means it’s time for the Christmas specials to come creeping out once more. Unless, of course, you’ve been watching Channel 5 over the past few weeks; they’ve wasted no time at all in rolling out the festive films!

Monday 1st December

Phillip Schofield’s Text Santa Marathon

ITV, 10:30amPhillip Schofield's Text Santa Marathon - ITV3 from 11:00am

Since its launch in 2011, ITV’s Text Santa appeal has raised a huge £15 million for various charities across the UK. However, it still doesn’t seem to be having a huge impact on the nation. Maybe it’s too soon after Children in Need. Maybe it’s simply too close to Christmas. Whatever the reason, ITV’s third favourite presenter (after Messrs McPartlin and Donnelly, of course), Phillip Schofield, is hoping to raise more awareness for the cause and, hopefully, more money for the six charities involved – more information on which is available on the Text Santa website – by hosting a 24-hour telethon with the aid of some celebrity pals.

Dropping by to help Phil get through his time on air will be the stars of Coronation Street and  Emmerdale, Pixie Lott, The Vamps, Ben Hanlin, some former I’m a Celebrity campmates and even Ant & Dec themselves, on a live link from Australia.

The intrepid Silver Fox will also be getting involved in a few activities as his time on ITV3 – along with the occasional stint on ITV and ITV2 – will see him compete in a national pub quiz, host a live auction for top celebrity memorabilia, become an honorary Loose Woman for the day (ITV, 12:30pm) and be presented with what the network are calling ‘the challenge of a lifetime’…

If you want to make Phillip’s efforts worthwhile, you can donate to Text Santa via his Just Giving page. All proceeds to Text Santa are divided equally between the six chosen charities: Teenage Cancer Trust, WellChild, Together for Short Lives, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Guide Dogs and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Also today: Digital channel Gold kicks off its 25 Days of Christmas; BBC1 answers the question Could I Get Ebola? (7:30pm); Lauren Laverne presents coverage of the announcement of the winner of the Turner Prize (Channel 4, 7:30pm); Wild Weather With Richard Hammond begins by looking at wind (BBC1, 9:00pm); and Channel 5 counts down the Most Shocking TV Moments (10:00pm).

Tuesday 2nd December

17 Kids and Counting 

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Luckily for Schofe, following his 24-hour telethon, he might just be asleep when this documentary'17 Kids and Counting' - Channel 4, 9:00pm airs.

Since we last saw the Radford family as part of the series 16 Kids and Counting last year, a few things have changed. Some of the older children are now looking to leave home, which one may think would give parents Sue and Noel a chance to enjoy a – slightly – quieter home but ‘one’ would be wrong as they are now looking forward to becoming grandparents again.

This one-off documentary follows the Radfords as they prepare for their new arrival and deal with the general trials and tribulations of being Britain’s largest family.

Also today: The semi-final of UK’s Strongest Man (Channel 5, 7:00pm); a repeat of last year’s documentary, Britain’s Craziest Christmas Lights (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Autopsy looks at The Last Hours of Elvis Presley (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and there’s another chance to see the 2013 Christmas special of The Sarah Millican Television Programme (BBC2, 10:00pm) – which funnily enough features Phillip Schofield.

Wednesday 3rd December

The Apprentice 

BBC1, 9:00pm

After firing James last week – or Derek, as I believe he is now affectionately known – Lord Sugar sets the remaining eight candidates a task entitled ‘Ten Years of Discount Buying’.

Having been told the task by Lord Sugar personally at the'The Apprentice' - BBC1, 9:00pm house, Teams Summit and Tenacity set out across London in the hope of finding a range of items featured in the previous nine series of the show – but in the hope of spending the least amount of money, not the most. A bit like Supermarket Sweep in reverse.

Surprisingly, despite 20 candidates starting out, this series of The Apprentice has allowed many characters to shine through: Steven, Daniel, Felipe and, of course, the aforementioned James. My favourite candidate, however, and the person I’m rooting for throughout the ‘process’ (the very use of that word make me despise myself) is Katie (pictured, right). Ok, she may be a fellow Mackem but she is also a very good businesswoman, it seems; she’s forceful, brimming with determination and very clever. Unlike many candidates, though, she manages to be all of this without also coming across as vindictive and ruthless. I like to think of her as a slightly watered-down Luisa Zissman.

Of course, Dara Ó Briain follows the main show with the brilliant The Apprentice: You’re Fired! on BBC2. This week, he’s joined by entrepreneur, Mike Soutar and comedian, Romesh Ranganathan.

Also today: Chris Terrill presents documentary series Living on the Edge (Channel 5, 7:00pm); and I’m sure little description is needed for Asbo & Proud (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Thursday 4th December

The Railway: First Great Western 

Channel 5, 8:00pm

This documentary series taking a look inside one of the UK’s largest rail companies returns for a  second series.'The Railway: First Great Western' - Channel 5, 8:00pm

Last year, we met many of the ticket inspectors, drivers and technical folk who help to keep First Great Western going day-to-day. We saw the daily struggles that they go through, coping with customer complaints, negative press and issues with the rail network, and tonight’s opening episode is no different as we find out how the staff managed to get through the bad weather of last winter.

Also today: Kirsty Young presents the final Crimewatch round up of the year (BBC1, 9:00pm).

Friday 5th December

The Graham Norton Show 

BBC1, 10:35pm

It’s quite widely noted that Graham Norton has a consistently high calibre of guests for his show –'The Graham Norton Show' - BBC1, 10:35pm arguably higher than that of Alan Carr and Jonathan Ross. Many use this argument as a case for  Graham’s show being in some way better than his contemporaries’ but I disagree: calibre doesn’t always equal entertainment in my opinion, and I often prefer to see British performers on such shows rather than big Hollywood types, who are no doubt sick of the seemingly endless queue of interviewers wanting to find out about their latest role.

The big names undoubtedly draw in huge audiences, though, and I can’t imagine a booking more guaranteed to do this than One Direction, who are chatting and performing on Graham’s show this week. They’re not alone on the sofa, though, as Michael Keaton and Jamie Oliver also drop by for a chat, and there will of course be more stories in the infamous Red Chair.

Fingers crossed Harry Styles can find some personality to prevent the interview from dragging along.

Also today: Jack Dee hosts Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Ross Noble, Kathy Lette and Sue Perkins are quizzed on all things gender-related on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Alan Carr welcomes George Ezra and Lee Evans, who will hopefully find the balance between absurdity and sincerity – unlike on The Jonathan Ross Show last week (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

The next This Week in TV (for 6th – 12th December) will be published at midnight on Monday (1st December).

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: Phillip Schofield’s Text Santa Marathon – ©ITV PLC; 17 Kids and Counting – Thanks to Channel 4 and Lion TV; The Apprentice – Thanks to BBC, ©Boundless/Jim Marks Photography; The Railway: First Great Western – Thanks to Channel 5; The Graham Norton Show – Thanks to BBC and Christopher Baines, ©So TV.


This Week in TV – 8th – 14th February

Following on from a week that saw appointment television like The Big Benefits Row, Age Gap Love and the heartbreaking Hunted, here’s what’s on over the next seven days.

Saturday 8th February

The Jonathan Ross Show

ITV, 9:55pm

You do kind of have to feel sorry for Wossy. He hasn’t exactly had the best guests this series, has he? In fact, he hasn’t had the best guests since his move to ITV.

I don’t want to start sounding too much like Ian Hyland but if we'The Jonathan Ross Show' - ITV, 9:55pm compare The Jonathan Ross Show  to The Graham Norton Show, the contrast in the quality of guests is obvious. For example, on the first show back after his Christmas and New Year break, Graham welcomed Sly Stallone, Robert De Niro, Jonah Hill and Carey Mulligan to his sofa. Impressive! Over on Jonathan’s show? Naomie Harris, Jennifer Saunders, Jamie Cullum and Paddy McGuinness made an appearance. Of course, there is an argument for British stars being more relevant to a British audience (plus Naomie Harris was in the much-anticipated Nelson Mandela biopic at the time) but, let’s face it: it hardly makes for inspiring reading, does it? Or viewing, for that matter.

So, is Wossy’s line-up any better this week? Well, yes to be fair. John Legend performs, Kiefer Sutherland discusses the new 24, Chris O’Dowd chats about his new film Cuban Fury (which looks very good), Emily Mortimer talks about her sitcom Doll & Em and Kevin Bridges explains why he’s not doing much at the moment – which does beg the question, why’s he on The Jonathan Ross Show?

Also today: The second semi-final of Splash! (ITV, 7:10pm); and Tony Robinson returns with Walking Through History (Channel 4, 8:00pm).

Sunday 9th February


Channel 4, 9:00pm

Directed by Danny Boyle, this one-off comedy drama stars a wide range of acting talent.'Babylon' - Channel 4, 9:00pm

James Nesbitt, Jill Halfpenny, Jonny Sweet, Martin Trenaman and more appear in Babylon, in which  Liz Garvey (played by US actress Brit Marling) is introduced by Chief Constable Richard Miller (Nesbitt) to revamp the police. Her job is to improve PR with the force – dragging it into the twenty-first century; the age of rolling news, smart phones and social media.

However, we also see some of the other cops at work in London, as cameraman Matt Coward follows them around for his fly-on-the-wall series.

Tonight’s 90 minute programme acts at the pilot. A full series of six episodes will follow later this year.

Also today: An 80s-themed Dancing on Ice, celebrating 30 years since Torvill and Dean’s success at the Olympics (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); and Sir Steve Redgrave and Natalie Anderson are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm).

Monday 10th February

Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring 

Channel 5, 9:00pm

After what he has many times called the worst year of his life (having been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree), Jim Davidson was voted the winner of Celebrity Big Brother last month.'Jim Davidson: At Least I'm Not Boring' - Channel 5, 9:00pm

Now I wasn’t particularly bothered that he won. I shocked myself by forgiving his vile stand-up routines and “gags” and instead being happy for him winning. But then I remembered why he was kicked off of Hell’s Kitchen. I remembered that he last year compared the Paralympics to “f*cking Robot Wars”, likened a black competitor to “a Peparami” and, on the topic of the twenty three-times gold medal-winning Ellie Simmonds, stated, “I f*cking hate midgets…they’re horrible”. Of course, comedians’ jokes – however unfunny – do not necessarily represent their true views, but surely no one can deny that some of Jim Davidson’s routines are plainly unacceptable.

Anyway, controversies aside, this documentary charts the rise, fall and rise again of Jim Davidson – from his early days on New Faces to Big Break and The Generation Game, his arrest last year and then finally his CBB success.

Also today: Crime drama series WPC 56 is back (BBC1, 2:15pm); Danny Baker’s Rockin’ Decades (BBC4, 9:00pm); off the back the success of Benefits Street and The Big Benefits Row, Richard Bacon hosts Benefits Britain: The Debate (Channel 4, 10:00pm); spoof documentary The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (BBC4, 10:00pm); and the first of a three part series, Danny Baker Rocks the Seventies (A Bit) (BBC4, 10:30pm).

Tuesday 11th February

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer

ITV, 8:00pm

As you may or may not be aware, last week’s Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was in fact  the last-ever. After'Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris's Final Answer' - ITV, 8:00pm fifteen years there are no more audiences to be asked, no more friends to be phoned and no more fifties to be fiftied.

Yes, I am aware that that doesn’t make sense. Just go with it though, please.

In this programme, the show’s host, Chris Tarrant, reflects on the past one and a half decades – from the six top prize winners (five of whom were clever enough not to cheat) to some of the most unfortunate losers.

Also today: Police 5 (Channel 5, 7:30pm) offers up crime prevention advice; 200 Nips and Tucks and I Want More! (Channel 5, 9:00pm); new dating show Sexy Beasts (BBC3, 10:00pm); and some magic in Troy (E4, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 12th February


Channel 5, 10:00pm

The press pack for Suspects claims that it is ‘an innovative new British crime drama’.

According to, the definition of ‘innovative’ is, ‘something new or different’. That might'Suspects' - Channel 5, 10:00pm be worth keeping in mind as I tell you that Suspects is an improvised series filmed in a documentary  style. We follow a team of detectives in each stand-alone episode as they investigate a different case. That sounds remarkably similar to ITV’s 2012 improvised series, Crime Stories, which was also filmed in a documentary style, with each stand-alone episode following detectives as they investigate a different case.

I’m not suggesting that Suspects isn’t going to be good. I’m merely pointing out that it is not ‘innovative’ – well, not in the popular sense of the word, at least.

Also today: Line of Duty returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); Dominic Cooper stars in drama series Fleming, about the creator of the James Bond books (Sky Atlantic, 9:00pm); and documentary series First Dates is back (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Thursday 13th February


ITV, 9:00pm'Benidorm' - ITV, 9:00pm

For some reason, this series of Benidorm has attracted some criticism. Many have stated that it  has been the weakest run to date but I completely disagree – I don’t think I’ve found the show this funny since the second series! It’s rude, crude and borders on the ridiculous but also simply brilliant!

Plus it stars Danny Walters. *Swoon*

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. This week’s episode is the last in the series and sees a clash for the Garveys and the Dykes, Joyce put under pressure and some very big guests turn up in the form of Rustie Lee, the Krankies and Joan Collins!

Rustie’s the main feature though, obviously.

Also today: The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure (BBC2, 8:00pm); The Kidnapping of Shergar (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Bible Hunters (BBC2, 9:00pm); and the best bits of Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe (BBC2, 10:00pm). His coverage of Hayley’s death on Corrie was a particular highlight for me.

Friday 14th February

Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages 

ITV, 8:00pm

Beginning tonight, this eight-part series follows the work of trainee nurses in Manchester and  Birmingham.

Over the course of the series, we get to know the students as they try their best to cope with the struggles on the wards, in training and at home. Hopefully it will also show the NHS in a good light, given its recent bad rap in the papers.

May I also just say happy Valentine’s Day to all of the singletons out there? I shall be spending 14th February in London, surrounded by many of my friends who are in relationships. Let’s all share the pain of singletude, eh?

Also today: Vernon Kay, Miles Jupp and Kelly Hoppen are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Ian Botham is the subject of the last Life Stories of the series (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights concludes (Channel 4, 9:00pm); more Alan Davies: Après Ski (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Matt Damon, Hugh Bonneville and Paloma Faith round-off the current series of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 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.

Image credits: The Jonathan Ross Show – Thanks to Nicky Johnston, ©ITV; Babylon – Thanks to Channel 4 and Dean Rogers; Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring – Thanks to Five; Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer – Thanks to ITV, ©Sony Pictures Television; Suspects – Thanks to Five; Benidorm – Thanks to ITV, ©Tiger Aspect.

This Week in TV – 1st – 7th February

Greetings! And following on from a week that saw bleeding eyes in Splash!, crashes aplenty on Channel 4’s The Jump and Jim Davidson re-enter the nation’s good books, here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 1st February


ITV, 6:50pm'Splash!' - ITV, 6:50pm

Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan join coach Tom Daley for the first semi-final of celebrity diving  competition, Splash!.

Taking part tonight are: Diversity’s Perri Kiely; model, Danielle Lloyd; Boyzone star, Keith Duffy; and presenter, Michaela Strachan. I’ve just watched each of their first dives on YouTube (as I can’t be bothered to watch the programme in full – or at all for that matter) and it seems that Perri is the stand-out diver, although I was quite impressed by Danielle and Keith.

However, who the public and judges pick to go through to the final is another matter.

Also today: Liam Neeson, Peter Andre and Goldie Hawn are on The Jonathan Ross Show, with Pixie Lott providing the music (ITV, 9:35pm).

Sunday 2nd February

A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack

BBC1, 10:25pm'A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack' - BBC1, 10:25pm

Tonight, the BBC shows a half-hearted tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack.

Now, I’m saying ‘a half-hearted tribute’ because it’s a ten minute programme, featuring interviews  with his friends and colleagues, followed by a repeat of the first episode of Only Fools and Horses – in which he appears for all of 3 minutes 11 seconds (yes, I timed it. No one can say I don’t put effort into this blog.)

To think, the show’s writer, John Sullivan, got a full thirty minutes when he passed away in 2011.

It just seems such a waste. For a man who has left such a mark on British comedy, and the news of whose death caused such an outpour of adoration from the nation, I can’t help feeling that the BBC could have done more to celebrate his fantastic achievements – both on- and off-screen. Surely they could have extended the tribute programme for a start; ten minutes will surely not be enough to shed light on his TV, film and stage roles, as well as his tireless charitable and political campaigns. Then, to follow that, why not show an episode of Only Fools in which he is more prominent – ‘Ashes to Ashes’ or ‘The Jolly Boys Outing’, perhaps? Or show an episode of The Vicar of Dibley? Or even – as a last resort – The Old Guys? Or all three!

I just think that Roger Lloyd-Pack deserves more than this short ‘tribute’.

Also today: Dancing on Ice, sans Zaraah Abrahams (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); Janine Duvitski and Scott Mills’s families go head-to-head on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Top Gear returns (BBC2, 8:00pm); and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall presents new documentary series Scandimania (Channel 4, 8:00pm).

Monday 3rd February

The Big Benefits Row: Live

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Channel 5 cash-in on the success (for want of a better word) of Benefits Street with this: a live debate surrounding the topic of the country’s welfare system, and whether it needs to be revised.

Kelvin McKenzie, Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie will be joined by a live studio audience to debate how easy it is to cheat the system, whether immigrants should be able to claim benefits, and are the sums available just out of control?

It’ll likely be controversial and cause a storm on Twitter – so Katie Hopkins will love it.

Also today: A Horizon special (BBC2, 9:00pm); DCI Banks is back (ITV, 9:00pm); and BBC3’s Growing Up Down’s, also at 9:00pm.

Tuesday 4th February

Births, Deaths and Marriages

ITV, 9:00pm

This two-part fly-on-the-wall series, following the highs and lows of life at Westminster register office,  begins tonight.

The office, which holds the birth and marriage records for big names including Winston Churchill,'Births, Deaths and Marriages' - ITV, 9:00pm Joan Collins, Paul McCartney and Margaret Thatcher, sees the registration of thousands of marriages a year, and this series takes a look at just some of them.

In the first episode, we meet Head Registrar, Alison Cathcart, who registered Prince George’s birth last summer, as she prepares to marry a couple who have no witnesses for their union so – yep, you guessed it – have to ask two willing volunteers from the street to stand in on the ceremony. However, it’s not all joy: married couple Tony and Rebekah arrive at the office to register the birth of their daughter Joanna, who was born with congenital heart disease. Sadly, we also see them register Joanna’s death just two weeks later.

To say that this is going to be a rollercoaster of emotion is an understatement!

Also today: Kevin Bridges, Rachel Riley and more take to the hot seat for (what is said to be the last-ever) Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (ITV, 8:00pm); She’s 78, He’s 39: Age Gap Love (Channel 5, 9:00pm) meets couples whose ages haven’t stopped them loving each other; and Christine Lagarde presents The Richard Dimbleby Lecture (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 5th February

Inside No. 9

BBC2, 10:00pm'Inside No. 9' - BBC2, 10:00pm

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s eagerly-awaited dark comedy Inside No. 9 begins  tonight.

Each of the six episodes in this series will focus on a different street, going behind the door of a different number 9, revealing the strange and dark goings on inside the building. In the first episode for example, a couple’s engagement party leads to a game of ‘sardines’ and some quite odd revelations.

Everything points to Inside No. 9 being a hit – not only because it’s from the pen of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton but also because it features an array of guest stars (Tamsin Greig, Anne Reid, Katherine Parkinson and Gemma Arterton to name just a couple) and has been recommissioned for a second series by the BBC, before the first episode has even aired.

Also today: Documentaries Royal Cousins at War (BBC2, 8:00pm), Touring Car Legends (ITV4, 8:00pm), Extreme Beauty Queens: Secrets of South America (BBC3, 9:00pm) and Sherlock: The First CSI (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Thursday 6th February

The Big Reunion

ITV2, 9:00pm

Following the unexpected, monster hit that was the first series of The Big Reunion last year, ITV2 have of course brought it back once again for 2014 – only this time with a somewhat less inspiring  line-up.'The Big Reunion' - ITV2, 9:00pm

A1, Eternal (except Louise), Damage, 3T and Girl Thing are all reforming. Er, I’m sorry: who? Fair enough, A1 and Eternal I have heard of but the rest? Is that the bottom of a barrel I hear being scraped? I can only assume the producers could get in contact with neither The Fast Food Rockers nor Scooch…

There is some good news, though: a ‘supergroup’ has also been formed of musicians who enjoyed a brief stint in the charts – so less The Big Reunion, more The Big Union. 5th Story, as they are called, comprises of Kenzie (of Blazin’ Squad fame), Adam Rickitt (the Nick Tilsley before the current one in Corrie), Gareth Gates and Dane Bowers (off of Katie Price’s hit list) and Kavana (your guess is as good as mine, quite frankly).

I’m sure that, as with last year, the most enjoyable parts will be seeing the performers being interviewed about the bitch fights and bust-ups that caused the group to split in the first place, as well as them reunite and discuss their differences amicable. Yeah, right!

Also today: Documentaries Pound Shop Wars (BBC1) and Help! I’m Snowtrapped (Channel 5) at 8:00pm; the sixth series of Inspector George Gently begins (BBC1, 8:30pm); Big Ballet sees plus-size dancers prepare for a performance of Swan Lake (Channel 4, 9:00pm); The Hotel Inspector is back (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Brain Hospital: Saving Lives begins (Channel 5, 10:00pm); and new Chris Lilley series, Ja’mie: Private School Girl is on BBC3 at 10:00pm.

Friday 7th February

Winter Olympics

BBC2, 3:30pm

For the next three paragraphs I shall attempt to sound knowledgeable about sport. Do bear with me.

Clare Balding presents coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony – and may I  just say how kind it is of Vladimir Putin to allow someone of her orientation into the city. He must be feeling particularly level-headed and'Alan Davies: Après Ski' - BBC2, 10:00pm intelligent at the moment, eh?

Then later, at 9:00pm, Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day will tell the story of the duo’s famous Bolero routine, which helped them win gold in Sarajevo thirty years ago. Incidentally, on 13th February, they will return to the country, and the very same stadium, to perform the routine once again.

Straight after Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day, new series Alan Davies: Après Ski begins at 10:00pm, which, each Friday, will see the comedian and guests take an irreverent look back at the action from the Olympics. Is it just me, or do you think someone at the BBC has been watching The Last Leg on Channel 4?

Did I get away with not sounding too knowledgeable but also not too clueless? I hope so.

Also today: Lee Mack, Ruby Wax and Dave Myers comprise the panel for this week’s Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Piers Morgan interviews Tony Blackburn (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights (which was originally released on DVD in order to trick fans into buying it, thinking that they were getting new material but in fact it was just a behind-the-scenes documentary which everyone, including Peter himself, knew would be on Channel 4 within a year or so anyway) is at 9:00pm; Alex Brooker is welcomed back to the aforementioned The Last Leg after finishing his presenting duties on The Jump (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Lee Mack’s new panel show, Duck Quacks Don’t Echo (Sky1, 10:00pm); and Gary Oldman and Nick Frost are on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 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.

Image credits: Splash! – Thanks to Tony Ward, ©ITV/Twofour; A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack – ©BBC; Births, Deaths and Marriages – Thanks to ITV, ©Wall to Wall; Inside No. 9 – Thanks to Richard Ansett, ©BBC; The Big Reunion – ©ITV; Alan Davies: Après Ski – Thanks to BBC and So Television, ©Tony Briggs.

This Week in TV – 25th – 31st January

Following on from a week that saw the National Television Awards bring victory for Ant & Dec, Corrie and Doctor Who – but also possibly a diminishment in I Can’t Sing!’s ticket sales – here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 25th January

Celebrity Big Brother

Channel 5, 9:30pm'Celebrity Big Brother' - Channel 5, 9:30pm

The final is looming, and tonight we will see the repercussions of Linda’s eviction. 

She may have felt the wrath and been bombarded by the boos of the public but I was quite surprised that Linda Nolan (pictured) was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house last night. Yes, she was interfering, a nit-picker, bitchy and perhaps should have let sleeping dogs lie sometimes but I suppose I did sort of like her. But then maybe that’s just because she’s a Nolan. And I can’t bring myself to hate a Nolan.

Anyway, so, who do I think will win? Well if I had to predict the top three (I don’t, but I will anyway), I’d have to go for:

FIRST – Ollie



I would never have placed Jim even in the final at the beginning of the series but I do believe that, despite his questionable opinions and past routines, he’s come across well during this series. Well, sometimes he has anyway. It’s often the case that the quiet ones shine in the end, though, so that’s why I’ve placed Ollie and Sam in the top two. Whether that will be the case on the night, however, remains to be seen.

Also today: Jenny Eclair, Austin Healy and Una Foden are just some of the stars appearing in Splash! (ITV, 6:45pm); and Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound, Tinie Tempah, Seann Walsh and Sam Bailey pull up a pew for The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:30pm).

Sunday 26th January

The Jump

Channel 4, 8:00pm

Bearing in mind the money that has been invested in it, it’s little surprise that Channel 4 is really plugging new reality series, The Jump. And so they should too because, actually, it looks really  rather good.

Davina McCall and The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker are at'The Jump' - Channel 4, 8:00pm the helm of this show, which sees celebrities trained in Winter Olympic disciplines – from Skeleton to Bobsleigh, speed skating to slalom and, of course, the dreaded ski jump. However, the competitors will only have to face the eponymous jump if they find themselves in the bottom two as a result of their performance in that day’s challenge. So that’s quite an incentive to do well!

Taking part over the next eight nights will be: Richie Neville, Nicky Clarke, Marcus Brigstocke, Melinda Messenger, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sinitta, Laura Hamilton, Amy Childs, Anthea Turner, Darren Gough, Kimberley Wyatt, and Henry Conway. They will be trained by Olympians, Graham Bell, Amy Williams and the legend that is Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards. Should be fun!

Also today: 2012 film Mirror Mirror (Channel 4, 6:00pm); the remaining nine battle it out in Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6:15pm); Brian McFadden, Diane Parish and their families are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Dragon’s Den returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); and there’s one last Celebrity Big Brother Eviction ahead of Wednesday’s final (Channel 5, 9:00pm).

Monday 27th January

Britain’s Great War 

BBC1, 9:00pm

Beginning the BBC’s ambitious four year project to mark the centenary of World War One, Britain’s'Britain's Great War' - BBC1, 9:00pm Great War sees Jeremy Paxman (clean-shaven at the time of filming) explore how the War helped shape modern Britain.

This first episode begins by looking at the early stages of the War, from the incredulity of the nation to the mass recruitment of soldiers. Jeremy tells of the fear that gripped the nation, as spies were suspected to be everywhere and people lived in constant terror of their homes being attacked – which of course began to happen before long.

Jeremy also meets a 105-year-old eyewitness to the bombing of Hartlepool as she reveals what she thought and felt at that moment.

Also today: Daytime series Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (BBC1, 4:30pm) and Coach Trip (Channel 4, 5:30pm) return; Police Interceptors (Channel 5, 8:00pm) and Food & Drink (BBC2, 8:30pm) are back; The Many Faces of Dick Emery is on BBC2 at 9:00pm; US sitcom Dads comes to ITV2 (9:30pm); and documentary series Three Wives, One Husband: Married to the Mormons begins on Channel 4 (10:00pm).

Tuesday 28th January

Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

ITV, 8:00pm

Who remembers last year when Chris Tarrant announced that Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was'Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' - ITV, 8:00pm ending? Apparently he and ITV had mutually agreed to finish the show, yet here it still is with the  first of two one-off specials – the second of which will air next Tuesday.

The first celebrity pairs to take to the hotseats are Russell Kane and Gloria Hunniford, Frank Skinner and Adrian Chiles, and Alexandra Burke and David Emanuel (who, incidentally, is opening the newly-refurbished Bonmarché store in Sunderland next Thursday. Just thought I’d mention it).

The charities being represented are: mental health organisation, Rethink; The Caron Keating Foundation; aid agency, CAFOD; Breast Cancer Care; and Macmillan Cancer Care Support.

Also today: Children’s Emergency Rescue (BBC2, 8:00pm); Inside the Animal Mind (BBC2, 9:00pm); and The Zoo Next Door (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 29th January


BBC1, 9:00pm

Personally, I thought that Outnumbered stopped being funny after the second run but it has proved'Outnumbered' - BBC1, 9:00pm popular enough to still be here for its fifth, and final, series.

As we rejoin the Brockmans, Sue is struggling to juggle her new office job with her home life, Jake is taking driving lessons, (the now very tall) Ben has been cast in the school musical, and Karen has joined secondary school, and clashes with just about everyone – teachers and fellow pupils alike.

It really is interesting to see how, with each series, Daniel Roche (Ben) and Romona Marquez (Karen) have grown up. And how much more handsome Tyger Drew-Honey has become.

Anyway, as it’s the final series, I might tune in. After all, it’s a few years since I last saw the Brockmans and it’ll be nice to catch up.

Also today: The Restaurant Man (BBC2, 8:00pm); and the Celebrity Big Brother Final (Channel 5, 9:00pm).

Thursday 30th January

BodyShockers: My Tattoo Hell 

Channel 4, 10:00pm

In this series, Katie Piper (pictured) meets people who have undergone or are planning to undergo major body  alterations, finding out their motives for and feelings about their'Bodyshockers' - Channel 4, 10:00pm decisions.

The first episode sees the model talk to a variety of people who have had tattoos, but now regret them. Take Grant, who has a tattoo on his eyelid and is about to undergo a painful and high-risk procedure to get it removed using a laser. Then there’s Merlisa, who wants a huge tattoo on her chest removed, and Dominic, who got his boyfriend’s name tattooed on his neck, only for them to break up three days later.

But Katie also meets some people who don’t regret getting tattoos. Matthew is inked from head to toe, with his penis even tattooed bright blue, as a sign of support for Birmingham City. Now that’s dedication!

Also today: One-off documentary Dan Snow’s History of the Winter Olympics (BBC2, 9:00pm); Matthew Kelly (who isn’t the Matthew from BodyShockers, I hasten to add) and Janet Street-Porter guest-star in Benidorm (ITV, 9:00pm); The Truth About Your Dog’s Food (Channel 5, 9:00pm), which needs little explanation; Suits returns (Dave, 9:00pm); and documentary Kids Who Kill (Channel 5, 10:00pm) – yet another programme with a very blunt, self-explanatory title.

Friday 31st January

The Last Leg

Channel 4, 10:00pm

Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker return with their review of the past seven days’ events.

This show has done exceptionally well, it should be noted. Bearing in mind it started out merely as a light-hearted, nightly review of the 2012 Paralympics, it is now a very popular topical series, which has helped boost the profiles of its three presenters, so much so that Adam Hills won Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist at the British Comedy Awards last year and is now the host of Celebrity Fifteen to One, four new episodes of which will air later this year. Josh also released his debut stand-up DVD last year while Alex has fronted his own documentary on body image and is, of course, co-host of The Jump.

As always, the trio will be joined by a different celebrity guest each week and viewers can get involved with their #IsItOk questions. For example, #IsItOk that Justin Bieber is acting like a total dick?

A nice little Last Leg reference for fans of the show there.

Also today: Ice Road Truckers returns (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Michael Ball, Caroline Quentin and Henning Wehn attempt to have their pet hates banished to Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Martin Kemp is on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and Julianne Moore, Matthew McConaughey, Sheryl Crow and Alan Davies are on The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 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.

Image credits: Celebrity Big Brother – Thanks to Five; The Jump – Thanks to Channel 4 and Todd Antony; Britain at War – Thanks to Dave Williams, ©BBC; Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – Thanks to ITV and Victory Television; Outnumbered – Thanks to BBC and Collin Hutton, ©Hat Trick; BodyShockers – Thanks to Channel 4 and Ray Burmiston.

This Christmas in TV – 21st December 2013 – 3rd January 2014

I don’t know about you, but I often find that the Christmas schedules are filled with great comedies, dramas and family shows up until about 27th December – and then it all dies down. We just get whatever’s left over. It’s like going to the tin of Quality Street a few days after Christmas and having to make do with the toffee pennies that get stuck in your teeth for four hours.

This year, though, I think it’s different. There are some great shows spread across the festive fortnight and I think there’s only one day in the whole of that time that I’ve been hard pushed to find something that I can write a few paragraphs about. Let’s see what you think, though. Here’s what we all have to look forward to on the telly this Christmas…

Saturday 21st December

The Illusionists

ITV, 9:10pm

Dynamo, Ben Earl, Tricked, Derren Brown… There seems to be a particular demand in this country  at the minute for magicians and illusionists. I don’t quite'The Illusionists' - ITV, 9:10pm know why, but suddenly TV channels are crying out for performers and their tricks – the riskier the better. And that’s handy, because this show features a lot of ‘risky’ stunts.

As part of their sell-out world tour, a team of six illusionists arrive at the Hammersmith Apollo and, with Stephen Mulhern overseeing proceedings, perform some large-scale illusions, death-defying stunts and comedy magic for a star-studded audience.

As you can imagine, there are some pretty impressive tricks in here – never to be tried at home, of course. Well, unless you happen to own a large transparent water tank and handcuffs – in which case, that’s your own affair.

Also today: Liz McClarnon, Sherrie Hewson, Russell Grant and Des O’Connor compete in The Chase: Celebrity Special (ITV, 5:30pm); the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2013 is announced (BBC1, 6:30pm & 8:40pm); ITV’s Harry Potter series continues with The Order of the Phoenix (6:30pm); Caroline Flack and Matt Richardson narrate The X Factor Winner’s Story (ITV2, 8:00pm); and BBC2 finishes its The Wrong Mans re-run with the final three episodes from 11:30pm.

The only new Christmas special today is Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:40pm), which features the Chuckle Brothers, Keith Harris and Orville, Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane, and Roy Wood and Santa Claus himself!

Sunday 22nd December

The Sarah Millican Television Programme

BBC2, 10:00pm

The South Shields-born comedienne returns with a Christmas special of her fabulous chat/stand-up'The Sarah Millican Television Programme' - BBC2, 10:00pm show.

Sarah’s had a brilliant year: two series of her show have been made and broadcast, she was nominated for two British Comedy Awards last week and has gone off on her third tour, Home Bird. And now she’s topping it off with this Christmas special, which sees her chat to Call the Midwife stars Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan) and Helen George (Trixie), as well as her teenage crush (her bedroom walls were plastered with posters): Phillip Schofield.

If you’re a fan of The Sarah Millican Television Programme, it might not be too late to ask for the best of series one and two on DVD for Christmas! Click here to find out how to order it.


BBC2, 10:30pm

Yes, I couldn’t resist writing about both of BBC2’s north-eastern, Christmas comedy specials.

Now, I have a confession to make. I watched all of the first series of Hebburn last year, and actually wasn’t as impressed by it as I made out. Everyone seemed to love it, though, so I just went along'Hebburn' - BBC2, 10:30pm with the hype, despite just finding it a quite funny, likeable show. The fact that I only live about twenty minutes away from Hebburn itself probably helped. I genuinely have loved this series, though – this and Last Tango in Halifax have helped bring gentle humour and pathos to Tuesday nights. And Jim Moir and Patt Dunn are simply brilliant together as Joe and his mum, Dot.

In this Christmas special, and the last episode in the series, Sarah and Jack return to Hebburn from Switzerland, just in time for Christmas Eve. However, Sarah’s mum, dad and nan have also turned up, and the latter begins immediately sparring with Jack’s gran, Dot. Plus, a theft means that the families – Jack’s and Sarah’s – must stay in the house, which leads to unlikely friendships being formed and more than a few enemies being made.

Also today: Big Sing: The UK’s Top 10 Carols (BBC1, 4:35pm); The Muppets and Lady Gaga at Christmas (Channel 5, 5:25pm); the obligatory showing of The Snowman (Channel 4, 6:25pm); Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Channel 4, 6:55pm); The Fir Tree (BBC4, 8:30pm) tells the story of the journey of the Christmas tree; there’s one-off drama The Whale (BBC1, 9:00pm), about the apparent inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick; Matt Edmondson presents Utterly Outrageous Reality TV Moments 2013 (ITV2, 10:00pm); and, with his musical Stephen Ward having recently opened in the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber explores the Porfumo Affair in Sex, Lies and a Very British Scapegoat (BBC1, 10:30pm).

Monday 23rd December

John Bishop’s Christmas Show

BBC1, 9:00pm

Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop will be joined by a host of celebrity guests for a night of festive'John Bishop's Christmas Show' - BBC1, 9:00pm fun.

Fresh from his stint as host of the Royal Variety Performance, and filmed at London’s Lyceum Theatre, John will welcome comedians including Nina Conti, Tim Vine, Lee Nelson, David O’Doherty and Jason Manford to perform sets, as well as delivering a few routines himself.

So join John and some of his favourite comics for a night of festive laughs as he brings his witty observations and hilarious anecdotes to the audience both in the theatre and at home.

Also today: BBC1’s three days of Toy Story starts at 3:15pm; a new series of Celebrity Mastermind begins (BBC1, 7:00pm); Gary Barlow: Journey to Afghanistan (ITV, 9:00pm) sees the X Factor judge perform for the troops at Camp Bastion; Most Shocking Celebrity Moments 2013 (Channel 5, 9:00pm); the third series of Fresh Meat comes to an end (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Caitlin Moran’s sitcom pilot Raised by Wolves is on Channel 4 at 10:50pm.

Christmas specials include: A Question of Sport (BBC1, 7:30pm); The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, 8:30pm); Peter Andre: My Life (ITV2, 9:00pm); and Bluestone 42 (BBC3, 10:00pm), which sees Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis join the cast.

Christmas Eve

The IT Crowd Night

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Channel 4 has dedicated a whole night to celebrating one of its most successful sitcoms of the century: The IT Crowd.

The evening begins with a repeat of September’s unofficial'The IT Crowd' Night - Channel 4, 9:00pm finale to the series, The Internet is  Coming at 9:00pm and then continues with The IT Crowd Manual at 10:00pm – a special documentary narrated by Stephen Mangan and featuring classic clips from the series. The show’s stars, Chris O’Dowd, Katherine Parkinson, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry and Noel Fielding, and its creator, Graham Linehan, will also be revealing some behind-the-scenes secrets.

Then, there’ll be The Fans’ Favourite Episode (you can vote here) and, rounding it off, The Writer’s Favourite Episode. I’ve already cast my vote for the best episode: The Work Outing, in which the trio go to see – as Roy puts it – ‘a gay musical called Gay’. As with the best IT Crowd episodes, it has a complex plot and some fantastic one-liners. All of them are great though – it should be interesting to find out which one will be voted top.

Also today: It’s a Wonderful Life (Channel 4, 1:10pm); Toy Story 2 (BBC1, 3:40pm); a repeat of heartwarming drama Fast Freddie, the Widow and Me (ITV, 3:45pm); The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song (ITV, 5:15pm); Carols From King’s (BBC2, 6:15pm); festive animations Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (Channel 4, 7:05pm) and The Snowman and the Snowdog (Channel 4, 7:30pm); Midsomer Murders (ITV, 8:00pm); the marvellous Last Tango in Halifax finishes its second series (BBC1, 9:00pm); Greatest Ever Christmas Movies (Channel 5, 9:10pm); and BBC2 celebrates the late Mel Smith in I’ve Sort of Done Things (9:45pm) and Comedy Connections (10:45pm).

Christmas specials include: Trollied (Sky1 HD, 9:00pm); Not Going Out (BBC1, 10:00pm); and last year’s Outnumbered (BBC1, 10:45pm).

Christmas Day

Downton Abbey

ITV, 8:30pm

As you can imagine, there was a lot of deliberation over which show to write about today. I have, of course, chosen Downton, though. And just like last year’s, the two hour-long episode is rather  disappointingly set in the summer.

As part of Rose’s ‘coming out’ (not in a Tom Daley way: in'Downton Abbey' - ITV, 8:30pm a ‘coming of age’ way), the Crawleys and Granthams travel to London for her debutante ball at Buckingham Palace. However, not one to miss out on a party, Cora’s mother, the outspoken Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine), and her son, the equally outspoken and morally questionable Harold, are also in tow, and make quite an impression amongst London’s high society.

Elsewhere, Carson treats the downstairs staff to a rare day out and the Crawleys become embroiled in a huge scandal which threatens to besmirch the names of the Granthams and the Royal Family, so Robert has to do all he can in order to keep the controversy at bay.

Also today: Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates host Top of the Pops Christmas (BBC1, 2:00pm); Toy Story 3 (BBC1, 3:20pm); Bear Gryll’s Wild Weekend With Stephen Fry (Channel 4, 8:30pm); the TV premiere of Michael Jackson’s This is It (Channel 5, 9:30pm); Michael McIntyre‘s 2012 stand-up show, Showtime (BBC1, 10:05pm); and Love, Actually (ITV, 10:45pm).

And there aren’t many Christmas specials – just Strictly (BBC1, 5:00pm); Paul O’Grady’s For the Love of Dogs (ITV, 5:15pm); Call the Midwife (BBC1, 6:15pm); Emmerdale (ITV, 6:15pm); Doctor Who (BBC1, 7:30pm); Coronation Street (ITV, 7:30pm); Christmas Night With the Two Ronnies (BBC2, 7:40pm); EastEnders (BBC1, 8:30pm); Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1, 9:30pm); Chatty Man (Channel 4, 9:30pm); Man Down (Channel 4, 10:35pm); and the infamous lingerie department episode of Father Ted (Channel 4, 11:05pm). Like I said, not many specials…

Boxing Day

Gangsta Granny

BBC1, 6:05pm

Following the success of Mr Stink last year, the BBC has this year commissioned another TV'Gangsta Granny' - BBC1, 6:05pm adaptation of one of David Walliams’s bestselling children’s novels.

Gangsta Granny tells the story of eleven-year-old Ben, who loathes having to stay with his granny every Friday night when his Strictly-mad parents go to see a dancing show. He hates her company: she feeds him cabbage, subjects him to games of Scrabble and her telly doesn’t work. However, one night his granny discloses the she is an international jewel thief, known as The Black Cat – and suddenly staying with her is not such a bad prospect…

As well as David himself, Gangsta Granny stars Julia McKenzie, Miranda Hart, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon, Robbie Williams and Jocelyn Jee Esien, along with newcomer Reece Buttery as Ben.

Also today: The Wizard of Oz (Channel 5, 5:15pm); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I premieres (ITV, 7:15pm); the much-anticipated Still Open All Hours (BBC1, 7:45pm); Death Comes to Pemberley (BBC1) and Idris Elba: King of Speed (BBC2) begin at 8:15pm; Channel 4 make a risky move in inviting Jack Whitehall onto The Big Fat Quiz of the Year again (Channel 4, 9:00pm), following his headline-making appearance last year; Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas (BBC1, 9:15pm); Ben & James Versus The Arabian Desert (BBC2, 9:15pm); and I am Britney Jean: Britney Spears in Las Vegas (ITV, 10:05pm) sees the performer begin her two year residency in Vegas.

Friday 27th December

Open All Hours: A Celebration

BBC1, 1:20pm

When the new Open All Hours episode was announced in October, I felt compelled to write an'Open All Hours: A Celebration' - BBC1, 1:20pm article on this blog. I really didn’t like the idea. Sitcom revivals are always risky anyway – and that’s without the protagonist being dead! I just didn’t think that it was plausible that Granville would carry on running the shop once his uncle died and he had the chance to escape. The fact is, though, it’s happening. And I’ve sort of got used to the idea – and even begun to look forward to the new episode!

This thirty minutes-long documentary features interviews with Open All Hours stars Sir David Jason and Lynda Barron, as well as its creator, Roy Clarke, about why they think that, forty years after it debuted, the corner shop sitcom is still hugely popular. We also go behind-the-scenes of the new episode, taking a look at the preparations and anticipation surrounding it.

I just hope that Still Open All Hours is good. Actually, I hope that it’s more than good! I hope it’s excellent! The BBC clearly seem to think it is anyway: rumour has it a brand new series is in the pipeline!

Also today: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Channel 5, 4:10pm); the second episode of Death Comes to Pemberley (BBC1, 9:00pm); the Christmas special of Vicious (ITV, 9:00pm); The Inbetweeners Movie (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Slapstick Comedy Night on Channel 5 begins at 9:00pm with Mr Bean and continues at 10:00pm with Tommy Cooper’s Christmas; a New Year’s special of The Spa (Sky Living, 9:00pm); and Queer as Pop: From the Gay Scene to the Mainstream (Channel 4, 10:55pm) tells of how the liberation of gay men has influenced pop music over the past four decades.

Saturday 28th December

Death Comes to Pemberley

BBC1, 9:00pm

I’ve mentioned it for the past couple of days but now I’m writing about it for the final episode: Death'Death Comes to Pemberley' - BBC1, 9:00pm Comes to Pemberley is a gripping drama, adapted from PD James’s bestselling novel based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

At a party at Elizabeth and Darcy’s home in Pemberley, Elizabeth’s brother-in-law Wickham is murdered. Darcy immediately springs into action, launching a search party in the woods, where they find a bloodied corpse. However, the body is not that of Wickham, but of his travelling companion. All that the Darcys hold dear is immediately thrown into jeopardy as they become embroiled in the web of lies and deceit of the ensuing murder investigation.

The three-part series (the conclusion of which is tonight) stars Anna Maxwell-Martin, Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode.

Also today: An 80s special of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6:00pm); Kate Garraway and former I’m a Celebrity… stars Rebecca Adlington and Rosemary Shrager are on the last Chase: Celebrity Special of the series (ITV, 6:00pm); the finale of Atlantis (BBC1, 8:15pm); 50 Funniest Moments 2013 (Channel 4, 9:00pm); the penultimate Mad Dogs (Sky 1 HD, 9:00pm); and Charlie Brooker’s 2013 Wipe (BBC2, 10:40pm).

Christmas specials include: All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:00pm), which sees Team Corrie go up against Team Dancing on Ice; The Cube Celebrity Special (ITV, 8:00pm), featuring Sherrie Hewson, Denise Welch, Lisa Maxwell and Greg Rutherford (who has never been a Loose Woman, to my knowledge); and The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:00pm), with John Bishop, Jamie Oliver, Ray Winstone, Susan Boyle and David Attenborough.

Sunday 29th December


ITV, 8:00pm

Despite the fact that it is apparently haunted, Miss Marple’s new acquaintance, the recently widowed Mike Rogers, dreams of building a new home on Gypsy Acre. However, he also has'Marple' - ITV, 8:00pm another aspiration: to woo American heiress Ellie Goldman. When he succeeds and they plan to marry, they also set about building his aforementioned dream home – but they have to contend with the threats of local gypsy, Mrs Lee.

Once the house is built and all seems fine, tragedy suddenly strikes as Ellie dies after being thrown from her horse. When two subsequent murders occur, Miss Marple has to step in and try to get to the bottom of Gyspy’s Acre.

The question is, will she be able to?

Also today: The last in the series of Sunday Side Up (ITV, 10:30am) and Sunday Scoop (ITV, 11:30am); Speed With Guy Martin begins (Channel 4, 8:00pm); the last-ever Mad Dogs (Sky 1 HD, 9:00pm); An Audience With Bruce Forsyth, from 1997, is on Channel 5 at 9:00pm, followed by Bruce Forsyth’s Comedy Heroes at 10:05pm; and 2013: Moments in Time (BBC2, 10:30pm) and Mashed (Channel 4, 11:05pm) both take a look back at the year just gone.

Christmas specials include: The recently-axed That Puppet Gameshow (BBC1, 3:20pm); Catchphrase (ITV, 7:00pm); 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and Rude Tube (Channel 4, 10:05pm).

Monday 30th December

The Thirteenth Tale

BBC2, 9:30pm

Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman star in this one-off drama based on Diane Setterfield’s novel of'The Thirteenth Tale' - BBC2, 9:30pm the same name.

When young biographer Margaret Lea visits legendary writer Vida Winter to interview her, previously undisclosed secrets are divulged. Due to the revelations of her childhood and dark past, a strong empathy is formed between Vida and her biographer, who is persuaded to confront her own skeletons in the closet.

Prepare for a dark and thrilling psychological mystery, perfect for seeing out 2013!

Also today: Family favourites The Railway Children (ITV, 11:25am) and Mary Poppins (BBC1, 4:15pm); Gok Does Panto (Channel 4, 7:05pm) goes behind-the-scenes of the fashion stylist’s stage debut at the Birmingham Hippodrome; Neil Oliver’s The Sacred Wonders of Britain begins (BBC2, 8:30pm); Agnes takes in a homeless parrot in Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1, 9:30pm); Jack Dee presents Twit of the Year (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Rik Edwards hosts the Made in Chelsea end of series party (E4, 10:00pm); and there’s a chance to see Jesus Christ Superstar, starring Mel C, Tim Minchin, Chris Moyles and Superstar winner, Ben Forster (Channel 5, 11:35pm).

New Year’s Eve

Two Doors Down

BBC2, 9:00pm

Starring a cast of comedy actors, including Arabella Weir, Doon Mackichan and Greg McHugh, one-'Two Doors Down' - BBC1, 9:00pm off comedy-drama Two Doors Down shows the goings-on at a New Year’s Eve party thrown by Scottish couple Eric and Beth Baird.

The party is attended by the Bairds’ erratic and often mischievous family, friends and neighbours and, as the night goes on, the drinks flow and the countdown to midnight begins in true Scottish style, the laughs become more frequent – but ructions seem increasingly likely.

Also today: Some of this year’s chart-toppers perform on Top of the Pops New Year (BBC1, 5:30pm); ITV has Mamma Mia! (8:00pm); Alan Carr presents his annual New Year Specstacular (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Channel 5 counts down the Greatest Stand-Up Comedians (9:00pm); Jason Manford presents A Funny Old Year (ITV, 10:15pm); and midnight is counted down to in Gary Barlow’s Big Ben Bash (BBC1, 11:15pm) and Jools Holland’s Hootenanny (BBC2, 11:30pm).

Specials today include: Christmas episodes of Deal or no Deal (Channel 4, 7:00pm), Tudor Monastery Farm (BBC2, 9:00pm) and Mock the Week (BBC2, 10:00pm); and a New Year’s Eve special of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:15pm), with Frank Skinner, Michael Buble, Joan and Jackie Collins, the Pythons and the stars of Anchorman 2.

New Year’s Day


BBC1, 9:00pm

Fans have been waiting two years for it but it’s finally here: the third series of Sherlock.'Sherlock' - BBC1, 9:00pm

As you can imagine, the BBC are giving very little away at the moment. We know, of course, that Sherlock will return – and that return will come as he is needed when London faces a terror attack. However, with Watson having moved on after two years without Holmes, and facing a safe future of domesticity, is he going to immediately aid him in saving the capital?

Well I think it’d make for an arduous ninety minutes if he didn’t…

Fans of the series may also like to note that a mini-episode in build-up to the third series will be available on Christmas Day. I’m not quite sure where or what time but it will be on Christmas Day. So look out for that!

Also today: The Sound of Music (BBC1, 2:15pm); Gnomeo and Juliet (BBC1, 6:45pm); the final Harry Potter film gets its TV premiere (ITV, 8:00pm); and David Blaine presents tricks for some big names in Real or Magic (Channel 4, 9:00pm).

Wednesday 2nd January

Birds of a Feather

ITV, 8:30pm

I genuinely cannot express the extent of my excitement about the return of Birds of a Feather. Unlike Open All Hours, this is a sitcom revival which I was ecstatic about from the start.'Birds of a Feather' - ITV, 8:30pm

That’s right, I’m a seventeen-year-old Birds of a Feather fanatic. And male. Nothing wrong with that!

Following the hit stage adaptation of the series, and rejection by the BBC, ITV decided to snap up Birds for a tenth series – the first to be broadcast on the network. I’m not particularly worried about this series of Birds not being up to scratch: the live tour was a sell-out and the creators, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, have come back to write a lot of the eight episodes, so everything should be fine.

So, what’s happening in the first episode? Well, in ‘Gimme Shelter’, we find Sharon living back in her council flat in Edmonton while Tracey is still in Chigwell with Travis (played by Charlie Quirke, son of Pauline) – but Dorien is nowhere to be seen. Where on earth could she have got to..? Well, it’s likely something to do with sex, isn’t it?

Also today: This Morning and Loose Women return (ITV, 10:30am and 12:30pm); Channel 5 makes us all feel a bit better about eating one too many chocolates by dedicating a whole night to Obesity and Diet from 7:00pm; The Restoration Man is back (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Dolphins: Spy in the Pod begins (BBC1, 8:00pm); Silent Witness starts a new series (BBC1, 9:00pm); we arrive at the Solana again for more Benidorm (ITV, 9:00pm); Michael Grade’s Stars of Musical Theatre is on BBC4 at 9:45pm; there’s a Christmas special (yes, a Christmas special!) of Rab C Nesbitt (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Matt Edmondson has more Fake Reaction (10:00pm).

Friday 3rd January

Celebrity Big Brother

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Yes, it seems not two minutes since Geordie Shore star and Sunderland ladette (although if'Celebrity Big Brother' - Channel 5, 9:00pm Newcastle want to claim her as theirs that’s fine by us…) was named Celebrity Big Brother champion for summer 2013 but now a new batch of vaguely recognisable faces are about to enter the house.

Obviously, no names have been released yet but rumours are rife, with Katies Hopkins and Price being the most prominent. However, other celebrities being linked with the series so far are Jim Davidson (although his name has been bandied about for the past two series) and Nancy Dell’Ollio.

Whoever goes into the house, though, it’s sure to be another cracker of a series.

Also today: A return for The Martin Lewis Money Show (ITV, 8:00pm), Robson’s Extreme Fishing Challenge (Channel 5, 8:00pm), James May’s Toy Stories (BBC1, 9:00pm), Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, with June Brown (ITV, 9:00pm), and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm). There’s also a new Rude Tube (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and highlights of the most recent, star-studded series of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).

So, there we are: that’s what’s coming up on your tellyboxes over Christmas and New Year. 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: The Illusionists – Thanks to ITV, ©Wizard TV; The Sarah Millican Television Programme – Thanks to BBC, ©So Television; Hebburn – Thanks to BBC and Matt Squire, ©Baby Cow Manchester/Channel X North; John Bishop’s Christmas Show – Thanks to BBC, ©Lola Entertainment; The IT Crowd Night – Thanks to Channel 4, Pete Dodds and Talkback Thames; Downton Abbey – ©ITV; Gangsta Granny – Thanks to BBC and Gary Moyes, ©BBC; Open All Hours: A Celebration – Thanks to BBC and Gary Moyes, ©BBC; Death Comes to Pemberley – Thanks to BBC, Origin Pictures and Robert Viglasky, ©Origin Pictures; Marple – Thanks to ITV and Neil Genaver, ©ITV; The Thirteenth Tale – Thanks to BBC, Dayday Films and Laurence Cendrowicz, ©Dayday Films; Two Doors Down – Thanks to BBC and Mark Mainz, ©BBC; Sherlock – Thanks to BBC, Hartswood Films and Robert Viglasky, ©Hartswood Films; Birds of a Feather – ©ITV/Retort/QuirkyMedia Stuff; Celebrity Big Brother – Thanks to Five.

This Week in TV – 7th – 13th December

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – which is unusually jam-packed with great stuff! Must be nearly Christmas…

Saturday 7th December

Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Mine

Channel 4, 7:15pm

Written and narrated by Hawking himself, this autobiographical documentary tells the full story of the'Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Mine' - Channel 4, 7:15pm scientist’s extraordinary life for the first time.

When Professor Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963, aged 21, he was given just two years to live. That was of course fifty years ago and Hawking has since gone on to be the most highly-regarded and influential scientist of recent time, exceeding professionals’ predictions not just of his life expectancy but of his capabilities during that time.

Featuring interviews with Buzz Aldrin, Jim Carrey, Richard Branson, friends and family, this programme tells the remarkable story of the life of Stephen Hawking.

Also today: Family favourite Babe (ITV, 1:45pm); the Strictly quarter-final (BBC1, 7:10pm); Russell Kane and Karen Barber are on The Chase: Celebrity Special (ITV, 7:15pm); it’s the X Factor semi-final (ITV, 8:15pm); and Jack Dee, Olivia Colman, Ellie Goulding and Tom Daley (my new boyfriend, if my mam’s to be believed…) are on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 10:45pm).

Sunday 8th December

I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

ITV, 9:00pm

Some shows are easy to write about because I watch them. SomeSure winner? Joey Essex shows are more difficult to write  about because either I don’t watch it or it’s new and I have no interest in it. I’m a Celebrity… is strangely somewhere in the middle of the easy-difficult spectrum: I do watch it but am writing about it before anyone has left the jungle. It is therefore not easy to speculate who will be crowned King or Queen.

I don’t think that this series has been the best, if I’m honest. Maybe that’s because the camp has been extremely well-fed this year. Irritating as they may have been at the time, you can’t deny that the Gillian McKeiths, Sinittas and Helen Flanagans of yesteryear did cause a few ructions in camp, and therefore a highly entertaining series, butMy Queen - Rebecca Adlington apart from Matthew Wright in the opening episode, we haven’t had any cowards this year. The only real highlights of this run have been Mr Essex’s idiocies – or ‘Joeyisms’, as they’ve become known.

For that reason, I think I’d put my money on Joey winning – and I wouldn’t mind that, to be honest. Who I’d really love to see follow in Charlie Brooks’s footsteps, though, is Rebecca Adlington. I think she’s been so down-to-earth and open. I’ve also felt sorry for her, too – particularly when she has spoken about the expectations of women and perceptions of beauty. Then again, there’s no one who I’ve disliked this year – except Vincent Simone. So whoever wins, I’ll probably be pleased. And hopefully next year’s series will be a bit more gripping.

The annual I’m a Celebrity… Coming Out show is on Wednesday at 8:00pm.

Also today: Home Alone (Channel 4, 5:25pm); find out who’s through to next week’s Strictly at 7:20pm; and Leona Lewis and Michael Buble perform on The X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm).

Monday 9th December

The Royal Variety Performance

ITV, 7:30pm'The Royal Variety Performance' - ITV, 7:30pm

John Bishop hosts the 85th Royal Variety Performance, recorded last week at the London  Palladium.

As always the two-and-a-half hours-long show will feature a wide range of top musicians and comedians. Mary J Blige, Chas & Dave, Gary Barlow, Jessie J, Torvill and Dean, Britain’s Got Talent winners Attraction, and the casts of I Can’t Sing (Harry Hill’s X Factor musical) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will all be performing. Meanwhile, Dame Edna Everage, Jimmy Carr, Seann Walsh and the much under-exposed Hal Cruttenden will be providing the laughs, alongside host John Bishop.

Also today: Helicopter Heroes returns (BBC1, 11:30am); Christmas Kitchen With James Martin begins (BBC1, 3:45pm); Celebrity Eggheads is back (BBC2, 6:00pm); Great British Garden Revival (BBC2, 7:00pm) sees experts offer advice to viewers; Joe Swash presents I’m a Celebrity… Trials and Tribulations (ITV2, 8:00pm); there’s a one-off Food Unwrapped (Channel 4, 8:30pm); and a Snog, Marry, Avoid Christmas special (BBC3, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 10th December

The Great Christmas Toy Giveaway'The Great Christmas Toy Giveaway' - Channel 5, 7:00pm 

Channel 5, 7:00pm

Myleene Klass, Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes will be joined in a Christmas grotto by an audience of children and a whole host of celebrity guests to give away a mountain of Christmas goodies.

Union J, Mark Wright, Jeff Brazier and many more will help give prizes including bikes, scooters, board games and cuddly toys away. Viewers at home will also have the chance to win a sleigh full of toys and a UK charity will benefit from what Channel 5 are calling ‘a HUGE donation’. Should be fun!

Also today: Heston’s Great British Food (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Suzannah Lipscomb presents New Hidden Killers: The Victorian Home (BBC4, 9:00pm); Freda Kelly tells her story of working with the Beatles for over a decade in Good Ol’ Freda: The Beatles’ Secretary (More4, 9:00pm); and Keane & Vieira: Best of Enemies (ITV4, 10:00pm) tells the story of the rivalry between Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira.

Wednesday 11th December


ITV, 9:00pm

Written by The Fattest Man in Britain co-writer Jeff Pope, Lucan tells the story of Lord Lucan’s'Lucan' - ITV, 9:00pm activities as part of the infamous Clermont set, as well as the collapse of his marriage to his wife Veronica.

Starring Rory Kinnear as the eponymous Lucan and Christopher Eccleston as his co-conspirator, John Aspinall, the two-part drama focuses on Lucan’s fight for custody of his children and reveals what happened on the night of their nanny, Sandra Rivett’s death in 1974. Rivett was bludgeoned to death, with many believing to this day that Lucan mistook her for Veronica. His whereabouts and eventual fate have remained a mystery for over forty years, with the public’s fascination with his life having never diminished.

Inspired by John Pearson’s The Gamblers, Lucan also stars Michael Gambon, Rupert Evans and Paul Freeman.

Also today: SuperScrimpers Christmas Cracker (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Pappy’s present Great Movie Mistakes (BBC3, 8:00pm); Sports Personality of the Year at 60 (BBC1, 9:00pm); Typhoon Haiyan: Eye of the Storm (Sky1, 9:00pm) has accounts from survivors of the disaster; Patisserie with Michael Roux Jr (BBC4, 9:00pm); The Only Way is Essexmas (ITV2, 10:00pm); and there are highlights of the second series of I’m Spazticus (Channel 4, 11:50pm).

Thursday 12th December

There’s Something About Susan 

ITV, 9:00pm

Despite having found masses of adoring fans after her astounding Britain’s Got Talent audition,'There's Something About Susan' - ITV, 9:00pm which was viewed by over 100 million people on YouTube (that’s almost 1/70 people in the world!), Susan Boyle still suffers from terrible anxiety. This isn’t surprising: anyone who has read her autobiography, The Woman I Was Born to Be, will know that she has had a lot to put up with in her life – both pre- and post-BGT fame.

Her anxieties are about to become more intense, however, as she prepares to embark on a nationwide tour of her native Scotland – and then go on to perform in front of a 20,000 strong crowd in the States. This one-off documentary goes behind-the-scenes of the tour, showing how Susan dealt with the pressures of touring as well as the prospect of taking her show across the UK.

Also today: A Christmas edition of Supermarket Secrets (BBC1, 9:00pm); Jonathan Ross hosts The British Comedy Awards (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Mummy’s Little Murderer (Channel 5, 9:00pm) investigates the murder of Emily Longley and her boyfriend in 2011; and there are Christmas specials of The Big Reunion (ITV2, 9:00pm) and Celebrity Juice (ITV2, 10:00pm).

Friday 13th December

Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery 

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Friday 13th: unlucky for some, and certainly unlucky for Ivan Massow, who is the victim of Derren Brown’s latest illusion.

Derren has organised for a specially-chosen team to steal a painting and even told art collector Ivan which Turner-nominated piece will be nabbed, when it will happen and has given him a picture of the ‘thief’. Who does this specially-chosen team comprise of, though?


That’s right, in this one-off special we will see Derren train his mob of senior citizens in how to pull off the stunt. But, with Ivan having already been given the details of the theft, will they succeed?

Also today: Jennifer Saunders and Bernard Cribbins are on Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Boyzone at 20: No Matter What (ITV, 9:00pm) celebrates two decades of the Irish boyband; Channel 5 celebrates 40 years of Abba, kicking off with documentary The Abba Years at 9:00pm; Adam Hills hosts Live at the Apollo (BBC1, 9:30pm); Victoria Wood and Richard Osman make their QI debuts (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Graham Norton has Ben Stiller, Jamie Oliver, Martin Freeman and Jessie J at 10:35pm on BBC1 while Alan Carr welcomes Seann Walsh and Michael Buble onto Chatty Man at the same time on Channel 4.

The next This Week in TV (for 14th – 20th December) will be published at the usual time of midnight on Saturday (7th December).

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: Stephen Hawking: A Brief History of Mine – Thanks to Channel 4 and Darlow Smithson; I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! – All images ©ITV; The Royal Variety Performance – Thanks to ITV Studios, ©ITV; The Great Christmas Toy Giveaway – Thanks to Channel 5 and 5Production; Lucan – Thanks to ITV and Des Willie, ©ITV; There’s Something About Susan – Thanks to ITV, ©Firecracker Films.

This Week in TV – 23rd – 29th November

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – taking in Gallifrey, Hebburn and Burma.

Saturday 23rd November

Doctor Who

BBC1, 7:50pm

Now, the Beeb has kept it fairly quiet but I can exclusively reveal that tomorrow will mark fifty years since Doctor Who began, and – it gets better! – there will be a special episode to mark it!'Doctor Who' - BBC1, 7:50pm

I know, the sly buggers!

Of course I’m joking: it feels like The Day of the Doctor has been trailed across BBC TV and radio since William Hartnell first stepped into the Tardis but finally the build-up ends tonight as the Steven Moffat-penned episode airs.

Modern-day London, sixteenth century England and the mysterious world of space are about to collide as the Doctor must risk everything to stop a murderous plot from coming to fruition. And that is all that the BBC is giving away – understandably, I suppose.

Joining Matt Smith and Jenna Coleman in the special are John Hurt, Joanna Page and former Doctor Who stars David Tennant and Billie Piper. Plus, if you want to enhance your viewing experience, why not watch Day of the Doctor in 3D on BBC HD and at your local cinema. Doctor Who Live: The Afterparty follows on BBC3 at 9:05pm, hosted by Zoe Ball and Rick Edwards.

Also today: A Doctor Who-themed edition of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:40pm); Strictly (BBC1, 6:30pm); Hebburn star Vic Reeves is on The Chase: Celebrity Special (ITV, 7:00pm); The X Factor contestants celebrate ten series of The X Factor on The X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm); Sir Tony Robinson presents Walking Through History (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Rob Lowe stars in drama Killing Kennedy (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Comet Ison is the focus of a Horizon special (BBC2, 9:15pm); The Culture Show centres around DH Lawrence (BBC2, 10:15pm); and Simon Pegg, Gary Barlow and Dame Edna Everage are on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 10:30pm).

Sunday 24th November

Morecambe & Wise: The Whole Story

BBC2, 9:00pm

This new series traces Eric and Ernie’s career from beginning to end – how they began as a small-'Morecambe & Wise: The Whole Story' - BBC2, 9:00pm scale variety show duo and finished performing to audiences of 28 million on the BBC.

This first episode focuses on the early years and tells of the beginnings of their friendship, after they were persuaded to perform together by Eric’s mum, Sadie. Of course, they didn’t have an immediate ascension to fame: after their debut show Running Wild in 1954, the pair received horrendous reviews, including the now infamous, ‘Definition of the week: TV set – the box in which they buried Morecambe and Wise’.

Things improved though when, seven years later, they began Two of a Kind at ATV. The public fell in love with them and the rest, as they say, is history…

Also today: Strictly (BBC1, 7:20pm) and X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm) results; documentary Hitler’s 9/11 (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and Owen Jones delivers a speech at The RTS Huw Wheldon Memorial Lecture (BBC4, 10:00pm).

Monday 25th November

The CCTV Traffic Wardens: Caught on Camera 

Channel 4, 9:00pm

This one-off documentary follows the work of Bristol City Council and the CCTV Control Centre, manned by traffic engineers and covert traffic wardens.

We see drivers being punished for their parking offences. As you’d imagine, there are a fair few tears and tantrums from the drivers along the way.

Also today: The Legalizer (9:15am) and The Doctor Blake Mysteries (2:15pm) begin on BBC1; Caught Red Handed returns (BBC1, 11:00am); Richard Bacon presents new TV-themed quiz show Show Me the Telly (ITV, 4:00pm); documentary Monty Halls and the Kaiser’s Gold begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm); The Cave: Hiding From the Nazis (Channel 5, 10:00pm) tells the story of five families who hid in a cave to escape from the Nazis; and Tracey Emin celebrates the life of Louise Bourgeois in Secret Knowledge (BBC4, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 26th November


BBC2, 10:00pm

The north east-set comedy is now well into its second series and is as brilliantly funny and poignant  as ever.'Hebburn' - BBC2, 10:00pm

Jim Moir really is excelling himself in this series as he plays stroke sufferer Joe with exactly the right amount of warmth and humour. The most laughs, however, come from Joe’s mam, Dot, who has recently moved in with her son and his wife, Pauline and is already making her presence known.

Tonight, Pauline is away on a training day, Gervaise is shooting the picture for his album cover and Jack and Sarah come away from antenatal classes somewhat traumatised.

Also today: Refugees of the Lost Rainforest (BBC4, 8:00pm); the brilliant Last Tango in Halifax continues (BBC1, 9:00pm); and Safari, Witchcraft and Murder (More4, 9:00pm) tells the story of David Simpson and his boss Erik Marav, who were jailed on suspicion of murder.

Wednesday 27th November

Treblinka: Inside Hitler’s Secret Death Camp 

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Not a lot of laughs in this documentary, as you’d imagine.

A team of archaeologists have been granted exclusive access to Treblinka – one of Hitler’s most notorious death camps. 800,000 people were killed at this camp during 1942 and 1943 and this programme explores its structure and where the victims were buried.

Okay, let’s return to the upbeat stuff now, shall we?

Also today: CS Lewis: The Secret Lives and Loves (BBC4, 9:00pm).

Thursday 28th November

Getting Rich in the Recession: Scrappers 

Channel 4, 9:00pm

This hour-long programme tells viewers how the scrap metal industry could help get Britain out of  recession, being as it is a much under-used but'Getting Rich in the Recession: Scrappers' - Channel 4, 9:00pm potentially huge resource.

Unbelievably, the scrap metal industry is worth £10 billion a year with over a million tonnes of electrical goods alone (half of which are still in working order) being discarded in that time.

In this documentary we will meet the larger-than-life characters at the South London scrap yard and see them at work, making the most of the opportunities that the recession throws up.

Also today: Crimewatch (BBC1, 9:00pm); one-off thriller Legacy (BBC2, 9:00pm); Surviving the Arctic With Chris Terrill (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and documentary series What Happens in Kavos returns (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Friday 29th November

Wild Burma: Nature’s Lost Kingdom 

BBC2, 9:00pm

This three-part series sees scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and filmmakers from the 'Wild Burma: Nature's Lost Kingdom' - BBC2, 9:00pm BBC’s Natural History Unit explore the depths of Burma.

In the first episode of the series, Gordon Buchanan and Justine Evans set out to discover whether a population of elephants are living in the mountains of Burma. It’s not an easy journey, however, and Gordon and Justine must overcome a series of obstacles in order to get the answers they want.

Also today: Kangaroo Dundee (BBC2, 8:30pm); documentary Blues America begins (BBC4, 9:00pm); brace yourselves, Janet Street-Porter is on the QI panel this week in an episode titled ‘Kinky’! (BBC2, 10:00pm); Josh Widdicombe and Beady Eye are on Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Colin Farrell, Jo Brand, Sharon Osbourne and Jeremy Clarkson are on Graham Norton’s sofa (BBC1, 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.

Image credits: Doctor Who – Thanks to BBC and Adrian Rogers, ©BBC; Morecambe and Wise: The Whole Story – ©BBC; Hebburn – Thanks to BBC and Jason Cook, ©Baby Cow Manchester/Channel X North; Getting Rich in the Recession: Scrappers – Thanks to Channel 4 and Jude Edington; Wild Burma: Nature’s Lost Kingdom – Thanks to BBC NHU and Evania Wright, ©BBC NHU.

This Week in TV – 26th October – 1st November

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

BBC1, 6:30pm

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…). 'Strictly Come Dancing' - BBC1, 6:30pm

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

Prize Island 

ITV, 5:40pm

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' - ITV, 5:40pm

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 

ITV2, 10:00pm

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,'Release the Hounds' - ITV2, 10:00pm 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…

Who knows?

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 

BBC1, 9:00pm

David Tennant and Sophie Okonedo star in this three-part, suspense'The Escape Artist' - BBC1, 9:00pm-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


E4, 9:00pm

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'Drifters' - E4, 9:00pm 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'A League of Their Own' - Sky1 HD, 9:00pm 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.

This Week in TV – 5th – 11th October

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – from Chasers to truckers and real-life lovers!

Saturday 5th October

The Chase: Celebrity Special

ITV, 7:00pm

When it began back in 2009, The Chase was quite a modest affair: it had a two week-long transmission, consisting of ten episodes, and just two Chasers in the form of Mark ‘The Beast’ Labbett and Shaun ‘The Dark Destroyer’ Wallace. Since then, however, it has gone from strength to strength, with two new Chasers having been added to the line-up (Anne ‘The Governess’ Hegerty in 2010 and Paul ‘The Sinnerman’ Sinha in 2011) and the current run consisting of 150 episodes – not to mention a Broadcast Award under its belt, too.

So, it’s doing well but what if you haven’t seen it? Well, each episode sees a team of four players individually take'The Chase: Celebrity Special' - ITV, 7:00pm one of the four aforementioned Chasers, playing for money which they have accumulated in the Cash Builder round (at £1,000 for each correct answer). When they take on the Chaser, they can either accept a lower offer – to take a step closer to home – or a higher offer – to  take a step closer to the Chaser. Once the money has been settled, it’s down to the serious business of the contestant answering as many correct answers as they need in order to move down the gameboard and get home without the Chaser (who is just a few spaces behind them) catching, and therefore eliminating, them. Once all of the contestants have taken on the Chaser, those surviving enter the Final round, where they have two minutes to answer a series of quickfire questions, each one of which they get right earns them a ‘step’. The Chaser then gets the same amount of time to answer as many questions as they can, and if they achieve as many steps as the contestants, no money is won – but if they don’t, the team walk away with the contents of the prize fund split between them.

It really is simpler than I’ve made out.

This is the third celebrity series of The Chase and kicks off with Jon Culshaw, Charlotte Jackson, Tina Malone and Dr Hilary Jones (pictured above, L-R (excluding Bradley Walsh)) taking on the Chaser – but who will it be?

Also today: It’s a West End-themed edition of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:30pm); Claudia Winkleman steps in for a flu-stricken Brucie in Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 6:20pm); Dom Joly is once again hoping to Fool Britannia (ITV, 6:30pm); Louis Walsh has three aides on hand (isn’t that just a little excessive?) as the judges’ houses round of X Factor begins (ITV, 8:00pm); 2011 film Friends with Benefits premieres (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Chris Evans hosts the new (and more expensive: damn you, Camelot!) Lotto draw (BBC1, 9:10pm); Mollie King and Simon Gregson are on Through the Keyhole (ITV, 9:50pm); and wartime drama Bomb Girls returns (ITV3, 10:00pm).

Sunday 6th October

Was It Something I Said?

Channel 4, 10:05pm

Hosted by David Mitchell, this new panel show tests its participants’ verbiage mettle by having them identify the creator of various quotes, taken from sources as varied as tweets, autobiographies and sometimes even their own comedy routines.

Richard Ayoade (who, following appearances on Buzzcocks, A League of Their Own and many Big'Was It Something I Said?' - Channel 4, 10:05pm Fat Quizzes, is fast becoming a panel show staple) and Micky Flanagan act as team captains and in this episode are joined by Jimmy Carr and Charlie Higson. I really hope this works for Micky! After Epic Win, The Mad Bad Ad Show and I Love My Country, I think it would be fair to say that he has taken part in a hat trick of TV turkeys (get me with my alliteration, eh?). I mean I really liked I Love My Country but other critics? They really didn’t find the funny side. So hopefully it will be fourth time lucky for Micky – but then it looks set to be, if this trailer is anything to go by.

Was It Something I Said? is particularly notable because it is to be the first panel show in the world with which viewers can play along on Twitter – despite it not being recorded live. How it works is, whenever David poses a question to the panellists, he puts aside his hatred of the internet and encourages viewers to tweet their own answer to the show’s Twitter account. The more answers viewers get right, the more bonus content they are invited to unlock, including behind-the-scenes clips, pictures, deleted scenes and facts and jokes from that night’s panellists.

As with most panel shows nowadays, there will also be an extended repeat of Was It Something I Said? on Friday at 10:50pm, once again on Channel 4.

Also today: The first celebrity gets the boot from Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1, 7:20pm); Rageh Omaar presents The Ottomans: Europe’s Muslim Emperors (BBC2, 9:00pm); it’s the battle of the big dramas as Downton Abbey (9:00pm) faces stiff competition in the form of the return of Homeland (Channel 4) at 9:00pm; Mark Lawson Talks to Bob Geldof on BBC4 (9:00pm); The Only Way is Vegas is on ITV2 at 10:00pm; and Myleene Klass hosts The Classic BRITs for a sixth year (ITV, 10:20pm).

Monday 7th October

Sex Box

Channel 4, 10:00pm

Yes, it’s not uncommon for them, but Channel 4 do seem to be particularly obsessed with sex at'Sex Box' - Channel 4, 10:00pm the moment. Following on from last week’s intriguing but ultimately shocking documentary Porn on  the Brain, which sparked national debate when it aired, they now have Sex Box, which sees three couples having a bit of a love-making session in a sound-proof booth, and then discuss the experience with Mariella Frostrup, a panel of experts and a live studio audience.

Now what is abnormal about that?

Sex Box is all part of Channel 4’s ‘Campaign for Real Sex’ season, which is investigating how pornography is affecting British couples’ sex lives, and will continue all week in bitesize episodes of five minutes at 7:55pm.

Also today: Coleen Nolan makes a return to the now Denise Welch-less Loose Women panel (ITV, 12:30pm); Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (BBC1, 4:30pm), 999: What’s Your Emergency? (Channel 4, 9:00pm), Hollyoaks Later (E4, 10:00pm) and The Agenda (ITV, 10:35pm) all return; and hit thriller Reservoir Dogs is on Channel 5 at 10:55pm.

Tuesday 8th October

The Pride of Britain Awards

ITV, 8:00pm

Fetch the tissues and prepare to feel guilty about your everyday grumbles as Carol Voderman  presents the fifteenth Pride of Britain awards.'The Pride of Britain Awards' - ITV, 8:00pm

Each year the Daily Mirror, Lidl, ITV and Daybreak get together to champion the unsung heroes of Great Britain by rewarding them for their charitable achievements and outstanding bravery, whatever their age, and, even just for one night, letting them know that the whole country appreciates and respects their wonderful achievements.

This year’s event will see people awarded in a array of categories, with just some being: Child or Tennager of Courage; Fundraiser of the Year; Teacher of the Year; Daybreak Emergency Services; and Local Hero of the Year.

It’s also worth noting that the nominations for 2014’s awards are now open, so if you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their outstanding bravery or achievements, simply nominate them at the Pride of Britain website, and they could just be picking up an award next year!

Also today: Jungles Babies (7:00pm) and The Dog Rescuers (7:30pm) begin on Channel 5; US drama Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen, begins (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Art of Australia begins (BBC4, 9:00pm); and The Day I Got My Sight Back, about Ian Tibbetts’s surgery to correct his blindness, is on BBC1 at 10:35pm.

Wednesday 9th October

Fat for Cash

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Kicking off Channel 5’s Supersize Season this week is Fat for Cash: an eye-opening documentary about the girls with extraordinary figures and the men who pay to see them.

In this hour-long, one-off show, we meet women such as'Fat For Cash' - Channel 5, 9:00pm Jen and Christina (who weigh 30 and 40 stone, respectively). Dieting is simply not an option for them as their large frames are their sources of income. They make their money by flaunting themselves on the web, with Jen having to do as little as step on the scales and try to get a measuring tape around her huge thighs to get men paying to watch her online.

Fat for Cash also sees mom-of-three Christina embark on her new business venture: her very own subscription website, on which men can pay to see her in various positions – including sitting topless in a child’s paddling pool – simply because they can’t get enough of the fuller figure.

Along the way we also meet former supersize model Samme, who is beginning a series of special nights in Vegas entitled ‘Thick Sundaes’: obese women pole dancing. There’s clearly an appetite for it, though, as men are queuing up to pay the girls lots of money for their dances.

It may not surprise you to know that this documentary was made in America…

Also today: Big Star’s Little Star concludes with Sally Bercow’s child revealing an awful lot about mummy and daddy’s opinions on the Prime Minister himself (ITV, 8:00pm); The Great British Year continues (BBC1, 9:00pm), this time with the focus on spring; Whitechapel draws to a close (ITV, 9:00pm); Helen Castor presents the first episode of Medieval Lives: Birth, Marriage, Death (BBC4, 9:00pm); and fact-based drama Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight is on Sky Atlantic at 9:00pm.

Thursday 10th October


BBC1, 9:00pm

Stephen Tompkinson leads a cast of accomplished drama stars in this new five-part series about a Nottingham-based haulage company.

Each episode focuses on a different trucker, as each of them are about to undergo a major life change. Alone in'Truckers' - BBC1, 9:00pm their cab they are able to reflect on their lives and think about where they are heading – both geographically and emotionally. Each story is told with warmth, humour and just a tinge of sadness.

The first of those stories centres around Malachi (Tompkinson, pictured), who, despite splitting from her eighteen months ago, is still living with his wife and grown-up son. Sadly he is still under the illusion that everything can be fixed between them, so when she comes home one day with the news that she’s going to remarry, Malachi is heartbroken. Feeling like he is at a dead end, he begins to re-evaluate his life and how he can get it back on track. It’s not an easy ride, though.

Also today: Three-part series Trust Me I’m a Doctor begins (BBC2, 8:00pm); ITV’s ratings – but not critical – success Pat & Cabbage comes to an end (8:30pm); new dramas Breathless (ITV) and Countdown to Murder (Channel 5) begin at 9:00pm; and ITV2’s Dynamo rip-off – um, sorry, I mean brand new magic show Tricked – starts at 9:00pm.

Friday 11th October

Hens Behaving Badly

Channel 5, 9:00pm

This new series, postponed from last month, begins tonight with the focus on the hen night revellers in Nottingham.'Hens Behaving Badly' - Channel 5, 9:00pm

Usually what the groom doesn’t know won’t hurt him but in this series the men find out exactly what happened during their new spouse’s last night of freedom, from exactly how drunk they actually got to whether they indulged in a bit of promiscuity while they still could.

The series meets all sorts of hens: the bitches, the brawlers and the control freaks. An example of the latter is Charlene, who we see this week struggling to make her friends stick to the itinerary she has planned for their wild weekend in Amsterdam.

And no documentary which shows the alcohol-swillers and constants partiers of this country would be complete without a trip to Newcastle, would it? So you can expect to see Hens Behaving Badly reinforcing the stereotypes set up by Geordie Shore and Bouncers in the coming weeks.

Also today: Richard Hammond and Carol Vorderman are among those discussing the week’s most talked about news stories on 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4, 9:00pm); BBC4 is showing Tubular Bells: The Mike Oldfield Story (9:00pm); Nicole Scherzinger and Gok Wan are on Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 9:50pm), while OneRepublic drop by to sing their terribly catchy song ‘Counting Stars’; Sandi Toksvig, Jason Manford and Trevor Noah discuss killers – but in a light-hearted way, of course – on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); Channel 5 show that they sure know how to attract the big names as Pete Burns and John McCririck are on Celebrity Wedding Planner (10:00pm); The Graham Norton Show returns with Harrison Ford, James Blunt and Jack Whitehall (BBC1, 10:35pm); BBC3 comedy drama Bluestone 42 comes to BBC1 (10:35pm) – read my review of the first episode here; and Kerry Howard stars in her own sketch show pilot, the imaginatively titled Kerry, 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: The Chase: Celebrity Special – Thanks to ITV and Steve Peskett, ©ITV; Was It Something I Said? – Thanks to Channel 4, Mark Johnson, Maverick Television and That Mitchell & Webb Company; Sex Box – Thanks to Channel 4 and Richard Ansett; Fat for Cash – Thanks to Five and Ronda Churchill; Truckers – Thanks to BBC, Company Pictures & ALL3MEDIA and Robert Viglasky, ©Company Pictures & ALL3MEDIA; Hens Behaving Badly – Thanks to Five.

This Week in TV – 7th – 13th September

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – with something for everyone, whether you like your reality TV, wartime dramas or daytime discussions.

Saturday 7th September

Strictly Come Dancing

BBC1, 6:50pm

It doesn’t seem two minutes since gymnast Louis Smith lifted that glitterball, but now a brand new batch of 15 famous faces are preparing to take to the dancefloor for the new series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The 2013 season kicks off tonight as we see the celebrities arrive to be introduced to their dance partners and perform their first group number, which of course will be overseen by the fearsome foursome that is Len Goodman, Darcey Bussell, Bruno Tonioli and Mr Nasty himself, Craig Revel Horwood. But who are the contenders for this year’s prize? Well – ladies first – there’s…

Mrs. Peter Crouch, Abbey Clancy

Abbey Clancy

Trying to avoid ‘Murder on the Dancefloor’, singer, Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Broadcaster, Vanessa Feltz

Vanessa Feltz

James Bond actress, Fiona Fullerton

Fiona Fullerton

Coronation Street actress, Natalie Gumede

Natalie Gumede

Businesswoman and Dragons’ Den star, Deborah Meaden

Deborah Meaden

Newsreader, Susanna Reid

Susanna Reid

Countdown’s resident maths whizz, Rachel Riley

Rachel Riley

And now for the boys:

Casualty actor, Patrick Robinson

Patrick Robinson

Former rugby union player (or, as I know him, former Attitude cover star), Ben Cohen

Ben Cohen

Fashion designer and Next Top Model regular, Julien Macdonald

Julien Macdonald

Golf pro, Tony Jacklin

Tony Jacklin

Hairy Biker, Dave Myers

Dave Myers

Hollyoaks actor, Ashley Taylor Dawson

Ashley Taylor Dawson

Waterloo Road and Early Doors star, Mark Benton

Mark Benton

God I love Mark Benton’s picture!

At the moment it seems that Natalie Gumede and Rachel Riley are the favourites to take the crown – before any of them have even taken to the dancefloor! Personally I think it’s far too early to tell. I mean, this time last year I’m sure people wouldn’t have tipped Lisa Riley to wow the judges, and might have had their money on Denise Van Outen winning.

The launch show also features performances from Rod Stewart, Jessie J and last year’s winner, Louis Smith, alongside his dance partner Flavia Cacace – who sadly will not feature in this year’s series.

Also today: James Martin serves up another series of Saturday Kitchen Live (BBC1, 10:00am); Vernon Kay and Mel Giedroyc are on That Puppet Game Show (BBC1, 5:00pm); stars of Blue Peter, EastEnders and the Harry Potter films take part in – a quite varied – Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6:00pm); one couple gets the boot in the fledgling Stepping Out (ITV, 6:30pm); there’s a Time Team Special on More4 (6:55pm); The X Factor continues (ITV, 8:00pm); Denise Van Outen and Jonathan Ross join Dave Berry and Keith Lemon for some more Through the Keyhole (ITV, 9:00pm); Italian drama The Young Montalbano comes to BBC4 (9:00pm); and film The Krays is on ITV4 at 10:15pm.

Sunday 8th September

Hitler’s Rise: The Colour Films 

Channel 4, 8:00pm

This two-part documentary, beginning tonight, follows Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.'Hitler's Rise: The Colour Films' - Channel 4, 8:00pm

The first episode shows how the young Führer was for a long time pampered by his mother, despite failing at pretty much everything and avoiding military service. However, Germany’s defeat in World War I awoke something in him, and he soon became a strong politician and nationalist, leading a small right-wing group.

After being imprisoned in 1924, Hitler tried to resume his battle for power, but Germans tended to just regard him as a deluded soul who was merely on the periphery of the country’s politics.

Next Sunday, the second episode will document how Hitler quickly rose to power and, unbeknownst to Germans, prepared for war.

Also today: Bugsy Malone (Channel 4, 2:25pm); Nothing to Declare returns (Sky Living, 4:00pm); Robert De Niro is in Stardust (Channel 4, 5:20pm); find out which of last night’s auditionees progressed to Boot Camp in The X Factor (ITV, 8:00pm); Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy premieres on Channel 4 (9:00pm); Mr & Mrs Smith is on Channel 5 (10:00pm); and Rude Tube returns (E4, 10:00pm).

Monday 9th September

Loose Women 

ITV, 12:30pm

An unusual choice, you might think, but there is a lot to talk about with the return of Loose Women – as some panellists’ jobs appear to be in jeopardy.

Helen Warner, the woman who created Loose Women back in 1999, has recently returned to the network as Director of Daytime, having worked in a similar position at Channel 4 for five years.  Therefore, she now has power over Loose Women again – and is reportedly not happy with how the'Loose Women' - ITV, 12:30pm show has gone off track and is no longer the current affairs discussion show which she played a part in creating. As a result, a huge shake-up is apparently imminent, and Carol Vorderman (pictured) – who began anchoring the show in 2011 – is favourite to go. Now I like Carol (in fact I like all of the Loose Women, now that Lesley Garrett is no longer there) so would be sad to see her be booted off the panel. If Warner’s vision of Loose Women’s future is one without Carol, however, so be it. At this stage, we’re still not entirely sure what’s going to happen.

As for the other Loose Women, could it perhaps be a case of ‘last in, first out’? After all, Shobna Gulati only began on the show earlier this year, and Sally Lindsay (who joined in 2011) seldom appears, as she asked for her hours to be reduced to allow her to spend more time with her children. Plus, Linda Robson now has her Birds of a Feather commitments (the revival for ITV is currently filming), so I doubt it would be a huge disadvantage to her if she left. As I said, I like all of the panellists – especially Sally – but wouldn’t it make more sense for one of the latecomers to go, rather than established members like Denise, Jane or Sherrie? Like I said, we don’t know what Warner has planned. One thing is for sure, though: there will be a big McGiff-shaped hole when Loose Women returns, as Celebrity Big Brother contestant Carol has quit the show after a decade. Shame.

Anyway, enough about the backstage goings-on, who’s coming up on this series? Well, the Loose Ladies return with Martin Clunes today and then the week continues with: Chatty Man himself, Alan Carr (Tuesday); Rylan Clark and Celia Imrie (Wednesday); Gok Wan (Thursday); and Whitechapel’s Steve Pemberton and Sheffield  (well, according to Keith Lemon) chef Gino D’Acampo round off the week on Friday.

Also today: Dominic Littlewood presents Street Patrol UK (BBC1, 11:00am); The Alan Titchmarsh Show returns (ITV, 3:00pm); Alexis Conran finds out more about US con men in Hustling America (Channel 5, 7:00pm); and Blackout, a one-off docudrama about a cyber attack on the National Grid, is on Channel 4 at 9:00pm.

Tuesday 10th September

Building the Dream 

More4, 9:00pm

In this new ten-part series, architectural designer Charlie Luxton helps people build their ideal homes from scratch, showing that achieving your dream doesn’t necessarily mean breaking the bank.

The series will see Charlie help people across the country – starting off in Hertfordshire – turn an empty plot of land into their dream building and finally own a place which they have helped create and matches their lifestyles.

Along the way, the budding homeowners are sent to visit others who also built their houses from nothing. However, it’s up to them whether they follow Charlie and his team’s advice or try to create a building their way.

Also today: New series Britain on Film starts by looking at how Look at Life mirrored the nation’s interests (BBC4, 8:30pm); and challenge series Nitro Circus returns to ITV4 (10:00pm).

Wednesday 11th September

The Wipers Times 

BBC2, 9:00pm

Written by Nick Newman and Ian Hislop, this one-off wartime drama focuses on the true story of the founding of The Wipers Times – a trench magazine published between 1916 and 1918.

Captain Fred Roberts (Ben Chaplin) and Lieutenant Jack Pearson (Julian Rhind-Tutt) discover a printing press in'The Wipers Times' - BBC2, 9:00pm the bombed-out ruins of Ypres in 1916, and decide to create a satirical magazine to raise the troops’ spirits. They call it The Wipers Times (after the way the soldiers pronounced ‘Ypres’), and its satirical style and wry jokes could be said to have influenced publications such as The Onion and Private Eye, of which Ian Hislop is the current editor.

The paper does the trick and proves to be a fantastic antidote to the horrors of war, although Roberts and Pearson’s superior officers don’t see the funny side and try to get the newspaper shut down – thankfully to no avail.

After the war suddenly ends, Roberts goes on to land his dream job of working for a newspaper. The question is whether he’ll be able to hold it down?

Also today: Gregg Wallace and Philippa Forrester present Harvest (BBC2, 8:00pm); Big Star’s Little Star continues with Duncan James, Sinitta and Robbie Savage and their kids (ITV, 8:00pm); Sarah Millican’s search of her ancestry takes her to Canada in Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC1, 9:00pm); we find out which celebrity has just missed out on the Final in the Celebrity Big Brother: Live Eviction (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Professor Alice Roberts presents Sex: A Horizon Guide, which needs little explanation (BBC4, 9:00pm); Nigel Harman joins the cast of the brilliant Mount Pleasant (Sky Living, 9:00pm); Jack Whitehall joins Adam, Josh and Alex to discuss who’s ‘being a dick’, and more, on The Last Leg (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and John Barrowman hosts the National Lottery Stars ceremony (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Thursday 12th September

Peaky Blinders 

BBC2, 9:00pm

Set just after World War I, this new six-part drama follows a family from Birmingham who are the most powerful gang of criminals in the city, the Peaky Blinders.'Peaky Blinders' - BBC2, 9:00pm

Thomas Shelby (pictured) is the head of the gang, who are so-called for their practice of sewing razor blades into the tips of their caps, and has recently come into possession of a crate of guns. He is urged by Aunt Polly, the family matriarch, to get rid of them, but Thomas isn’t someone who takes orders well. However, her advice may prove to be invaluable as Chief Inspector Campbell has just arrived from Belfast, and has been ordered by Winston Churchill himself to recover the guns.

Also on Campbell’s list of suspects is Freddie Thorne, a communist and Thomas’s former best friend, who is also having an affair with Ada: Thomas’s sister.

Just imagine Channel 4’s recent drama, Run – only set nearly a century ago.

Also today: Crimewatch (BBC1, 9:00pm), which includes the unsolved case of Nikki Allan, who was killed aged seven in Sunderland; documentary The Teenage Exorcists (BBC3, 9:00pm) follows three American teenagers’ work in London; Sound of the Cinema: The Music That Made the Movies begins (BBC4, 9:00pm); Pscyho prequel, Bates Motel begins on Universal (Sky channel 113, Virgin Media channel, 137) at 9:00pm; and Question Time is back (BBC1, 10:45pm).

Friday 13th September

Celebrity Super-Spa 

Channel 5, 10:00pm'Celebrity Super-Spa' - Channel 5, 10:00pm

This brand-new reality series sees six celebrities train to become beauty therapists.

Guided by salon supremo Herbert Howe, stars Helen Flanagan, Yvette Fielding, Rustie Lee, John Burton Race, James ‘Arg’ Argent and Jody Latham will learn how to pluck, preen and pamper guests at their own spa.

Over six weeks we will follow the contestants’ highs and lows before one of them is eventually crowned the first Celebrity Super-Spa champion!

Also today: Gino’s Italian Escape begins (ITV, 8:00pm); Rylan Clark’s successor is announced in the Celebrity Big Brother: Live Final (Channel 5, 8:30 & 11:00pm); Dermot O’Leary presents the first ever BRITs Icon, with the award going to Sir Elton John (ITV, 9:00pm); Lee Mack, Bob Mortimer and Adam Hills are guests on a one-off 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown – of which there now seem to be more episodes than 8 Out of 10 Cats itself (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Noel Fielding and Colin Lake make their QI debuts alongside Ross Noble, Alan and Stephen (BBC2, 10:00pm); Bake Off stars Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins are on Alan Carr: Chatty Man, along with the world’s most infamous twerker, Miley Cyrus (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Rylan and AJ talk to tonight’s winners and losers on Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Side (Channel 5, 11:30pm).

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 – All images courtesy of Ray Burmiston, ©BBC; Hitler’s Rise: The Colour Films – Thanks Channel 4; Loose Women – Thanks to Steve Meddle, ©ITV; The Wipers Times – Thanks to BBC, Trademark Productions and Helen Sloan, ©Trademark Productions; Peaky Blinders – Thanks to BBC, Tiger Aspect and Robert Viglasky, ©Tiger Aspect; Celebrity Super-Spa – ©Five