Happy new year! Let old acquaintance be forgot, etc.
Right, now down to the matter in hand. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas telly! Last Tango in Halifax and Downton Abbey were particular highlights for me. In fact, I must have been full of Christmas spirit as I actually found myself laughing at Vicious. Out loud, too! Please don’t think bad of me.
Thankfully the people behind the programmes haven’t rested on their laurels in the new year and are instead treating us to some fantastic returning shows. Oh, and Splash!. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Saturday 4th January
Forget your Ted and Ralphs and your Lou and Andys, I think that the greatest British sketch show character of all time is Catherine Tate’s foul-mouthed Joannie ‘Nan’ Taylor.
Having become the star of many charity specials (most recently last year’s Children in Need Holby City sketch) and her own take on a Dickensian tale (2009’s Nan’s Christmas Carol), it’s quite safe to say that Nan was the stand-out character in The Catherine Tate Show, so it’s little surprise that the comedienne has brought her back for – a disappointingly short – thirty five minute special.
As we rejoin Nan, there have been a few changes in her life: her put-upon grandson Jamie is having to communicate via Skype, as he’s doing charity work in Africa (as actor Mathew Horne was busy during filming), so a young girl named Alice has been allocated to Nan as part of a ‘Young and Old Buddy-Up Foundation’ scheme in order to keep the pensioner in good spirits. Unfortunately that’s where the changes end, as, as you can imagine, Alice does not manage to perk Nan up. Over the course of the episode we see her causing a stir at the local council offices, disturbing the peace in a hospital and interfering in her new neighbours’ weddings plans.
I bet she’s still more cheerful than Catherine Tate was on The One Show though, eh?
Also today: An education special of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 7:00pm); huge A-list stars such as Paul Ross and Ricky Groves take part in the new series of Splash! (ITV, 7:20pm); The Making of David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum (Sky1 HD, 7:35pm) goes behind the scenes of the broadcaster’s latest documentary; The National Lottery: Who Dares Wins (BBC1, 7:50pm) and Take Me Out (ITV, 8:50pm) are back; BBC2 has a Dave Allen Night from 9:00pm; Jennifer Saunders, Jamie Cullum and Paddy McGuinness are on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:50pm); Little Fockers premieres on TV (10:25pm, BBC1); and Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Psych returns (Channel 5, 11:00pm).
Sunday 5th January
Dancing on Ice
Just as the theme tune to Heartbeat used to, the opening credits of Dancing on Ice reminds a nation of young people that they have school the next day. That’s certainly the effect it used to have on me, anyway! Soon though that will all change as tonight marks the beginning of the end for Dancing on Ice.
For the past eight years we have joined Phillip, Holly/Christine, Torvill & Dean and the ever-changing judging panel to watch as a myriad of reality TV stars, soap actors and Loose Women risked serious injury by stumbling out onto the ice and performing for the nation but in just ten weeks’ time it will all be over, as Jayne and Chris and ITV have mutually agreed to end the series now, thirty years after the pair won gold for their Bolero at the Sarajevo Olympics.
As has been widely reported, this year sees the cream of the crop – and Todd Carty and Joe Pasquale – return to the ice in the hope of being crowned champion of champions. Competing are: Beth Tweddle, Bonnie Langford, David Seaman, Gareth Gates, Gary Lucy, Hayley Tamaddon, Jorgie Porter, Kryan Bracken, Ray Quinn, Sam Attwater, Suzanne Shaw and Zaraah Abrahams, as well as the aforementioned Todd and Joe.
Should be an exciting ten weeks!
Also today: Nicky Campbell hosts a new series of The Big Questions (BBC1, 10:00am); one-off fly-on-the-wall documentary Shipping Wars is on Channel 4 at 7:00pm; Kimberley Walsh and Wayne Sleep take part in All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); the new series of Sherlock continues (BBC1, 8:30pm); Operation Grand Canyon with Dan Snow (BBC2, 9:00pm) sees the presenter try to recreate John Wesley Powell’s 1869 journey around the Grand Canyon; Griff Rhys Jones presents another It’ll Be Alright on the Night (ITV, 9:00pm); 2011 film Bad Teacher premieres (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and The Magaluf Weekender returns (ITV2, 9:00pm).
Monday 6th January
New star-studded drama series The 7.39 encapsulates the monotony of the daily morning commute to work, but also shows how these boring journeys can lead to something life-changing.
The series focuses on Carl (David Morrissey) and Sally (Sheridan Smith), who have an argument one Monday morning over a seat on the train. Things do improve between them, though, as they begin to chat and a bond grows between them. It soon becomes apparent to the pair of them, however, that their feelings for each other are deeper than just friendship.
The problem is, with Carl happily married to Maggie (Olivia Colman) and Sally engaged to the enthusiastic and devoted Ryan (Sean Maguire), will they find it within themselves to confess their feelings to each other, and risk everything they have?
Also today: New series of Wanted Down Under (BBC1, 9:15am), Rip Off Britain (BBC1, 11:00am), Real Lives Reunited (BBC1, 11:45am), Loose Women (ITV, 12:30pm), A Place in the Sun (Channel 4, 2:10pm), Father Brown (BBC1, 2:15pm), Britain’s Best Bakery (ITV, 4:00pm), Great British Railway Journeys (BBC2, 6:30pm) and Inside Out (BBC1, 7:30pm); A Great British Adventure with Griff Rhys Jones begins (ITV, 8:00pm); there’s a Food Unwrapped Diet Special (Channel 4, 8:00pm); The Bletchley Circle is back (ITV, 9:00pm); infuriating documentary Benefits Street begins (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Jake Hanrahan presents The Truth About Skunk (BBC3, 9:00pm); Secrets of the Living Dolls (Channel 4, 10:00pm) and Secrets of the Sales (BBC1, 10:35pm) are revealed; and I Shot 2013 (ITV, 10:35pm) reflects on some of last year’s biggest news stories, told through the images that members of the public captured with their cameras.
Tuesday 7th January
Weight Loss Ward
I love living in, and am very proud to be from, Sunderland. I think that it’s a brilliantly diverse city which is often cast in Newcastle’s shadow. It’s just a shame that TV executives don’t regard it as favourably, because instead of having documentaries set here which show us in a good light, we get Geordie Shore. Secret Millionaire. And Weight Loss Ward – a programme following the work of doctors in ‘one of the busiest NHS obesity units in the UK’. So Sunderland is home to perpetual ‘sessioners’, people desperate for charity and the morbidly obese. Hooray for us, eh?
As well as meeting new patients, the series also catches up with some of those who appeared on the programme in 2012, such as Terry, from Hetton le Hole, and who when we last saw him had ballooned to 47 stone. Having previously fallen out of love with each other, Terry and his wife are now back together, and he is on a quest to lose weight once again.
Will Terry be able to do it for the sake of his children?
Also today: The return of River Monsters (ITV, 7:30pm), Stargazing Live (BBC2, 8:00pm), Location, Location, Location (Channel 4, 8:00pm), and Gibralta: Britain in the Sun (Channel 5, 8:00pm); The Lying Game: Crimes That Fooled Britain (ITV, 9:00pm) investigates the criminals who used crocodile tears to deceive the nation; Nigella’s new series The Taste comes to the UK (Channel 4, 9:00pm); God’s Cadets: Joining the Salvation Army (BBC4, 9:00pm) follows new recruits as they are put through their paces; Nick Robinson presents The Truth About Immigration (BBC2, 9:30pm); and Secrets of the Body Clock with Terry Wogan (BBC1,10:35pm) is…well…is exactly what it sounds like.
Wednesday 8th January
This is Jinsy
Sky Atlantic, 10:00pm
The surreal sitcom about a group of oddballs who live an Orwellian existence of constant surveillance on the island of Jinsy returns for a second series.
The series is notable for its guest stars, and over the next eight weeks we can look forward to seeing Eileen Atkins, Derek Jacobi, Olivia Colman, Rob Brydon, Stephen Mangan, Olivia Colman, Ben Miller and Greg Davies – to name just a few. Starring in tonight’s episode is Stephen Fry, who plays ‘wig keeper’ Dr Bevelspepp.
Also today: Bigger Big Body Squad (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Ashley Banjo’s Big Town Dance (Sky1 HD, 8:00pm); Waterloo Road (BBC1, 8:30pm) and 24 Hours in A&E (Channel 4, 9:00pm) return; the first housemate gets the boot from Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Jack Whitehall hosts a postponed Live at the Apollo (BBC1, 9:30pm); Fergal Keane presents The Hidden World of Britain’s Immigrants (BBC2, 9:30pm); Hurricanes and Heatwaves: The Highs and Lows of British Weather (BBC4, 9:30pm) takes a look at the journey of the weather forecast; and Hens Behaving Badly is back for a second series (Channel 5, 10:30pm).
Thursday 9th January
Channel 4, 9:00pm
Well this is unfortunate. Having said all that about Sunderland being badly represented in documentaries, I come to The Undateables – the brilliant last series of which featured Steve, a shelf- stacker in Asda, Sunderland. Unfortunately he didn’t manage to find love during the programme, but we will be catching up with him in the next few weeks to find out how he’s got on.
The Undateables is quite a controversial series. For some reason, people think that the participants are being singled out for their disabilities, but anyone who has seen the series will know that that is not what happens. It’s just a documentary about dating – but featuring people who often find it difficult to get dates.
Looking for love in this series are: Mary, who has dwarfism; Daniel, who is autistic; Hayley, who has Apert Syndrome; Ruth, who has Tourette’s; John, who has Asperger’s; and Zoe, who has Mosaic Down Syndrome.
Also today: Supersize vs Superskinny (Channel 4, 8:00pm); World’s Worst Holiday Horrors (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Tough Young Teachers (BBC3, 9:00pm) follows graduates taking their first jobs in tough London schools; Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe (BBC2) and Botched Up Bodies return at 10:00pm; documentary series What Happens in Sunny Beach (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Nick Grimshaw reveals this year’s BRIT Awards nominees in The BRITs Are Coming (ITV, 10:35pm).
Friday 6th January
Piers Morgan’s Life Stories
In last week’s Life Stories, Piers interviewed EastEnders legend June Brown – whose autobiography came out last year.
This week, he’s interviewing Mary Berry – whose autobiography came out last year.
Does anyone else see a pattern developing here?
Not to worry, though: June Brown’s interview was quite enjoyable last week and Mary’s is sure to be this week as she opens up about her experience with Polio as a child, as well as her son’s death at the age of 19. She will also discuss, of course, her new-found fame as star of The Great British Bake Off.
Also today: Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Andrew Graham-Dixon and Giorgio Locatelli present a new series of Italy Unpacked (BBC2, 9:00pm); there’s another Celebrity Big Brother Eviction (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Sue Perkins, Jimmy Carr and Reginald D Hunter are on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); Graham Norton has an all-star line-up in the form of Robert De Niro, Carey Mulligan, Sylvester Stallone and Jonah Hill; and Russell Kane introduces a new series of Live at the Electric (BBC3, 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: Nan – Thanks to BBC, ©Tiger Aspect; Dancing on Ice – Thanks to Nicky Johnston, ©ITV; The 7.39 – Thanks to BBC and Giles Keyte, ©Carnival Films; Weight Loss Ward – Thanks to Shiver Productions, ©ITV; This is Jinsy – ©Des Willie; The Undateables – Thanks to Channel 4 and Ray Burmiston; Piers Morgan’s Life Stories – Thanks to Kieron McCarron, ©ITV