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
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
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
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, 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
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
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.
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
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 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.