Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV.
Saturday 1st June
Les Dawson: An Audience With That Never Was
This one-off special (which is surprisingly only an hour long) marks the twentieth anniversary of the much-loved comedian’s untimely death.
Les Dawson died in June 1993, a mere fortnight before he was due to record his first An Audience With… programme. However, filmed in front of an array of showbiz legends and his family, the Sez Les star will finally present the show that never was with the help of a 3D hologram of himself. The stunningly realistic image will allow us to hear some of the material that he would have performed that night.
The show also features interviews with stars such as Sir Bruce Forsyth and Cilla Black, who share their own memories of the comedy legend, who got his break at the age of 36 on Opportunity Knocks. The makers of the programme have also been granted exclusive access to some of Les’s home videos, featuring himself and his young daughter Charlotte, who was just eight months old when her father died. This footage has never been seen before on television.
I have a feeling that a lot of people my age will never have heard of Op Knocks, let alone Les Dawson, but I am familiar with his trademark deadpan delivery and rubbish (yet secretly great) piano playing, so am really looking forward to this rare treat. I hope it will show others who may not be accustomed with Les’s work how brilliant he was, and the gap which he left in British comedy when he died.
Also today: Deadly Bloopers (BBC1, 5:00pm) presents some of the funniest moments from Steve Backshall’s Deadly series; the last Britain’s Got Talent Semi-Final (ITV, 7:00pm), my review of which will be available immediately after the Results show at 9:30pm; the Knockout Rounds begin on The Voice UK (BBC1, 8:30pm); sci-fi film Transformers is on Channel 4 at 8:30pm; Jonathan Foyle examines the Tudors in Henry VIII: Patron or Plunderer? (BBC2, 8:35pm); new 1980s-set drama series The Americans (ITV, 10:00pm); Beyoncé and a host of top musical talent perform in Beyoncé and Friends Live at Twickenham (BBC1, 10:50pm); and Jimmy Carr’s excellent Making People Laugh show is on Channel 4 at 11:15pm.
Sunday 2nd June
Peter Jones Meets
In this series, Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones speaks to successful entrepreneurs and aims to find out both how they became successful and whether success is inevitable for some people.
In this episode, the first of four, Peter speaks with Mo and Mark Constantine (pictured), who run the beauty store Lush and last year managed to sell a staggering £360,000,000 worth of shampoos, soaps and scents.
Also today: Coronation Year in Colour presents rare colour footage of the events prior to the Queen’s 1953 Coronation (ITV, 5:30pm); comedy film Ice Age (Channel 4, 5:50pm); Spying on Hitler’s Army: The Secret Recordings shows a dramatised version of a British intelligence operation to listen to the conversations of thousands of WW2 German prisoners of war (Channel 4, 8:00pm); the TOWIE gang return with The Only Way is Marbs (ITV2, 10:00pm); and there are highlights (although I doubt there were many to choose from) of The Matt Lucas Awards (BBC1, 10:25pm).
Monday 3rd June
What a Load of Buzzcocks
Over the next eight weeks, Blur bassist and cheese maker Alex James (pictured) presents classic clips from Never Mind the Buzzcocks, which celebrated its 250th episode last year.
Each week, Alex will focus on a specific year in the comedy music quiz’s history. This week, that year is 1996, the year that Buzzcocks began airing with its original team of host Mark Lamarr and captains Phill Jupitus and Sean Hughes. It was also the year that I was born, but that’s irrelevant.
Also today: Robbed, Raided, Reunited returns – now there’s alliteration! (BBC1, 11:00am); The Gadget Show is back (Channel 5, 7:00pm); Matt Allwright presents a special episode of Fake Britain (BBC1, 7:30pm); Food Unwrapped returns to Channel 4 (8:30pm); The People’s Coronation with David Dimbleby marks the events, sixty years on, through the memories of those involved (BBC1, 9:00pm); Channel 5 devote a night to the trial of Oscar Pistorious with Why Did Oscar Pistorious Kill Our Daughter? (9:00pm) and Pistorious Trial: The Key Questions (10:00pm); David Hasselhoff explores cinematic genres in The Hoff’s Best Action Film Ever! (BBC3, 10:00pm); and sci-fi film Alien vs Predator is on Channel 5 at 11:00pm.
Tuesday 4th June
In this three-part documentary, we meet the animals who accompany our service men and women across the globe.
With access to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, Animal Heroes details the pets’ journeys from being trained here in the UK to loyally sticking with their loving owners on the frontline of Afghanistan. We will also see interviews with the service men and women who keep the animals, discussing their love for their four-legged friends, as well as the difficulties that the animals face in such hostile conditions.
Also today: Dirty Britain returns to ITV at 9:00pm; new fly-on-the-wall documentary The Call Centre (BBC3, 9:00pm) features a boss who has the potential to become the next David Brent; I lost interest at the beginning of the second series but the third run of Mad Dogs, after premiering on Sky’s On Demand service last week, begins on Sky1 (9:00pm); The Making of 24 Hours in A&E is on Channel 4; and The Unspeakable Crime: Rape is on BBC1 at 10:35pm.
Wednesday 5th June
Love and Marriage
This had better be bloody good after all of the trailers we’ve had to endure. I don’t even feel like I need to give a synopsis – any viewer of ITV probably already knows the plot better than the writers do!
I will of course give a brief overview of the series, though. Love and Marriage features a stellar cast, reading like a Who’s Who of British acting talent. When Pauline Paradise (Alison Steadman) retires as a lollipop lady, she also decides on a new lease of life by leaving her husband, Ken (Duncan Preston). As the weeks after Pauline and Ken’s split unfold, we see the knock-on effect her decision has had on her family and how it has caused her children to have a fresh perspective on their own love lives.
Also in the cast are Preston’s dinneraldies co-star Celia Imrie and Steadman’s Gavin & Stacey mate Larry Lamb, as well as Coronation Street’s Graeme Hawley, The Spa star Niky Wardley and Extras’ Ashley Jensen, plus many more.
The plot, and many subplots, of Love and Marriage seem excellent, and I am genuinely looking forward to it. I hope it lives up to its hype and impressive cast list.
Also today: Peter Snow kicks off Channel 4’s minute-by-minute account of the Normandy landings in D-Day: As It Happens (9:00pm); and romantic comedy Pretty Woman is on BBC3 at 9:00pm.
Thursday 6th June
David Walliams: A Snapshot in Time
It was on 23rd March 1983 that 11-year-old David Williams took to the stage during Reigate Grammar School’s production of All the King’s Men, received his first laugh from an audience and decided that he wanted to carry on doing the same for the rest of his life. That moment is captured in a photograph, which the actor and Britain’s Got Talent judge sets out to recreate in this one-off documentary.
During the programme, David attempts to track down the people in the photograph with him by visiting his childhood home and old school in Surrey, where he speaks to teachers and hears their stories of his time as a pupil there. Will David be able to gather everyone who was in the original picture and recreate it in the modern day?
Also today: Super Tornado tells the story of Oklahoma’s recent natural disaster (Channel 4, 8:00pm); comedy film Johnny English (ITV2, 8:15pm); Life Savers follows the work of the people at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge (BBC1, 9:00pm); Melvyn Bragg investigates 16th century theologian William Tyndale in The Most Dangerous Man in Tudor England (BBC2, 9:00pm); Coma, based on Robin Cook’s novel of the same name, is on Channel 5 at 9:00pm; documentary The Alps Murders is on Channel 4 at 10:00pm; and Keith is in dire straits as the new series of Lemon La Vida Loca kicks off (ITV2, 10:00pm).
Friday 7th June
Channel 4’s Comedy Gala
Channel 4, 9:00pm
The fourth annual Comedy Gala, in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, features the cream of the comedy crop – and Rich Hall.
The event, filmed last month at the O2 Arena, includes performances from:
And that’s just a selection of the performers – there are many more. Also, Alan Carr, Warwick Davis and Miranda Hart (pictured) all team up with Britain’s Got Talent champions Diversity to deliver an unforgettable routine.
I always look forward to the Comedy Gala, but some acts are always better than others on the night. Let’s hope Jo Brand doesn’t do the same jokes which she’s done for the past few years – the ones about acronyms and smoking. They’re good the first time, Jo, but not when you’ve heard them on here…and QI…and Mock the Week…and Jo Brand’s Big Splash, and so on.
Also today: the Live Shows of The Voice UK begin (BBC1, 7:00pm); antiques series Four Rooms is back (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Michael Buerk and Bettany Hughes present Britain’s Secret Homes (ITV, 9:00pm); and the line-up on The Graham Norton Show includes Hayden Panettiere, Downton’s Dan Stevens and comedian Micky Flanagan, who is about to begin his first arena tour, Back in the Game (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 about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer.
I just want to take this opportunity to raise awareness for Alex Neal.
Alex is seventeen-years-old and a fellow student of mine at Sunderland College. She has a very rare bone tumour, called chondrosarcoma, which is growing around her brain and has already affected her eyesight and hormone levels, meaning she will have to rely on HRT for the rest of her life.
This tumour cannot be treated in the UK. Therefore, Alex must travel to Florida to have it treated there. The NHS have agreed to fund her visit – but only with one parent accompanying her.
£5,000 is needed to send both of Alex’s parents to Florida with her for this urgent treatment. At the time of writing, an incredible £1,486 has been raised but her family need more and have been campaigning by holding ‘Action 4 Alex’ car boot sales, cake sales and selling wristbands.
Any money would be greatly appreciated by Alex’s family. Even spreading the word and encouraging others to get involved would, I’m sure, be greatly appreciated.