Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – taking in Gallifrey, Hebburn and Burma.
Saturday 23rd November
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!
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
This new series traces Eric and Ernie’s career from beginning to end – how they began as a small- 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
The north east-set comedy is now well into its second series and is as brilliantly funny and poignant as ever.
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 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
This three-part series sees scientists from the Smithsonian Institution and filmmakers from the 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.