Category Archives: ‘The Tube: An Underground History’

TV Highlights (11th – 17th May)

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV.

Saturday 11th May

The Many Faces of Robbie Coltrane

BBC2, 9:00pm

Over the last few weeks, The Many Faces of… has profiled legendary British talent – from Sid James (who would have reached the age of 100 last week) to Michael Crawford. Tonight, as the title suggests, it is Scottish actor Robbie Coltrane.

The programme, which is followed by an episode of Blackadder the Third starring Coltrane, delves into the actor’s life and work: from his roots as an edgy stand-up comic to his more well-known roles as the psychologist, Fitz in ITV’s Cracker and of course the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in the Harry Potter franchise.

The Many Faces of Robbie Coltrane features interviews with his Cracker co-star, Geraldine Somerville; its writer, Jimmy McGovern; Harry Potter creator JK Rowling; and fellow Hogwarts attendee, Rupert Grint.

Also today: James Cameron’s hit sci-fi film Avatar is on Channel 4 at 7:45pm; Britain’s Got Talent continues (ITV, 7:45pm); the first of this weekend’s two instalments of The Voice UK is on BBC1 (8:35pm); the Redknapps, Yoko Ono, Vin Diesel and Bastille appear on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:45pm); and Unzipped’s Russell Kane and Greg James present How to Win Eurovision (BBC3, 9:50pm).

Sunday 12th May

The BAFTA Television Awards

BBC1, 8:00pm 'The BAFTA Television Awards' - BBC1, 8:00pm

Graham Norton (pictured) once again oversees proceedings for the sixtieth BAFTA Television Awards ceremony.

The list of categories for this year is huge, all with deserving nominees, so I’m going to pick out just five, with my winner written in red:

Drama Series in 2013

Silk (BBC1)

Scott & Bailey (ITV)

Ripper Street (BBC1)

Last Tango in Halifax (BBC1)

Entertainment Performance in 2013

This is a difficult one…

Graham Norton (The Graham Norton Show, BBC1)

Ant & Dec (I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, ITV)

Alan Carr (Alan Carr: Chatty Man, Channel 4)

Sarah Millican (The Sarah Millican Television Programme, BBC2)

Situation Comedy in 2013

The Thick of It (BBC2)

Hunderby (Sky Atlantic)

Episodes (BBC2)

Twenty Twelve (BBC2)

Mini-Series in 2013

Room at the Top (BBC4)

Mrs Biggs (ITV)

Accused (BBC1)

Parade’s End (BBC2)

Radio Times Audience Award in 2013

This is the only BAFTA Television award which is voted for by the public

Call the Midwife (BBC1)

The Great British Bake Off (BBC2)

Homeland (Channel 4)

Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic/Sky1)

Strictly Come Dancing (BBC1)

Olympics Opening Ceremony (BBC1)

Well it has to be the Olympics, doesn’t it?

Special Awards are being given to Clare Balding and Delia Smith, with the prestigious Fellowship being awarded to Michael Palin.

Also today: the original (and the best) Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Channel 5, 3:30pm); the 1998 version of Godzilla (Channel 5, 5:35pm); the Battle Rounds conclude in The Voice UK (BBC1, 7:00pm); Paddy Considine and Broadchurch’s Olivia Colman lead the cast in The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (ITV, 8:00pm); boyband JLS, who recently announced their split, are trying to win the top £250,000 prize in Celebrity Deal or no Deal (Channel 4, 8:00pm); and the hilarious (or is that just because I’m sixteen…) The Inbetweeners Movie gets a welcome repeat (Channel 4, 9:00pm).

Monday 13th May

Frost on Sketch Shows

BBC4, 9:00pm

Both the history and future of sketch shows are examined in this one-off documentary, which sees legendary broadcaster Sir David Frost talk to other big names in the genre.

Over the hour, Frost examines sketch shows: from his very own satirical programmes That Was the Week That Was and The Frost Report to timeless classics like Morecambe & Wise, The Two'Frost on Sketch Shows' - BBC4, 9:00pm Ronnies and Monty Python’s Flying Circus and modern favourites such as Little Britain and The Catherine Tate Show.

Through interviews with Stephen Fry (who, together with his ‘colleague’ Hugh Laurie, created gems like this and this), Ronnie Corbett and Michael Palin, Frost will share his views and ultimately answer this question: can the British sketch show continue to flourish and survive?

Also today, lots of new series: May the Best House Win returns (ITV, 2:00pm); small charities are championed in Auction Hero (BBC2, 8:00pm); Ade Edmondson is back to front a new series of The Dales (ITV, 8:00pm); Victoria Coren befuddles us once more in Only Connect (BBC4, 8:30pm); Gillian Anderson stars as a Metropolitan Police detective who is investigating a murder in Belfast in new five-part drama The Fall (BBC2, 9:00pm); and Skint follows the unemployed in Scunthorpe (Channel 4, 9:00pm).

Tuesday 14th May


BBC1, 9:00pm

Torchwood’s Eve Myles (pictured) stars in this six-part drama about a dedicated district nurse.

Frankie is a heart-warming, funny and ultimately life-affirming series written by Lucy Gannon, who received critical acclaim last year for her Paralympics-themed drama The Best of Men (which, I’m ashamed to say, I still have unwatched on my Sky+ box. I will get round to seeing it at some'Frankie' - BBC1, 9:00pm point…). The eponymous lead, to reiterate, is a dedicated nurse – but she does have a childlike persona and constantly remains upbeat and optimistic, mainly because she feels it is her duty to do so in order to lift her patients’ spirits.

There are three men in Frankie’s life: her long-term boyfriend, Ian (Dean Lennox-Kelly); her colleague and confidante, Andy (Derek Riddell); and Ken Bruce – although perhaps the least said about that, the better…

I’m genuinely looking forward to Frankie. Not only does it have a great cast but it is written by the reputable Lucy Gannon and features a protagonist who, despite her important job, has a more playful side to her and doesn’t let life get her down – just what we need!

Also today: Ana Matronic (one fifth of the Scissor Sisters) and Radio 1’s Scott Mills present Eurovision Song Contest: Semi-Final One (BBC3, 8:00pm).

Wednesday 15th May

10 O’Clock Live

Channel 4, 10:00pm

10 O’Clock Live reaches its fourth episode this week and, while I like and look forward to it, I can’t help thinking that this series may be its last.'10 O'Clock Live' - Channel 4, 10:00pm

Every week, there seems to be a new article published which suggests the flaws in 10 O’Clock Live but I honestly don’t know how it can be improved. Undoubtedly, it should be improved (a show featuring a quartet as talented as this should be much more entertaining) but I think everyone involved is doing their utmost to make the show work.

I mean, let’s face it, 10 O’Clock Live isn’t that bad. It’s no Vicious or The Wright Way, is it? I suppose it can be a bit clunky at times and awkward to watch when a joke falls on deaf ears but the only way I can think to fix that is to record the show the day before transmission. But then 10 O’Clock Pre-Recorded isn’t as catchy a title, is it?

No, I’m quite happy for the show to plod on the way it is, discussing the week’s top (mainly political) news with the mixture of seriousness and frivolity it warrants. So long as Jimmy continues with his witty quips, Charlie remains perpetually incensed, David carries on dropping his ‘logic bombs’ and the press cease pointing out that Lauren Laverne’s role on the show is not much more than ‘The Other One’, I’ll be content.

Also today: Kirsty and Phil are back for more Location, Location, Location (Channel 4, 8:00pm); and this week’s task is to produce and pitch flat-pack furniture in The Apprentice (BBC1, 9:00pm).

Thursday 16th May

The Tube: An Underground History

BBC2, 9:00pm

Last year, BBC2 screened The Tube, a documentary series about the London Underground. Tonight, BBC2 are screening The Tube: An Underground History, a documentary about the London Underground.

It’s nice to see that the licence fee goes on new programming, eh?

This documentary, celebrating 150 years of the London transport service, tells the story from the perspectives of its long-term employees. From line drivers to supervisors and customer care assistants, a range of tube workers offer an insight into the reasons for its discovery in 1863, the history of the stations and how the whole system changed, and continues to change, London.

Also today: Dan Snow presents live from RAF Scampton in The Dambusters: 70 Years On (BBC2, 7:00pm); the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life is investigated in Aliens: Are We Alone? (Channel 5, 8:00pm); and Scott Mills and Ana Matronic are back to present Eurovision Song Contest: Semi-Final Two (BBC3, 8:00pm).

Friday 17th May

Not Going Out

BBC1, 9:30pm

I think it’s fair to say that the quality of Not Going Out has deteriorated slightly (and only slightly) since Tim Vine’s departure. His character’s banter with Lee was a great source of humour in the initial five series'Not Going Out' - BBC1, 9:30pm, so his absence was obviously going to be felt. However, it’s still a brilliant show, with each episode guaranteed to produce more than a few hilarious one-liners, and can still hold its own against many of its comedy contemporaries.

Tonight’s episode sees Lee (pictured, middle) desperately vie for Lucy’s (left) attention, as her first love, Scott (right) returns from Africa and produces a play in which he wants her to star.

Also today: Warwick Davis, Joan Bakewell and Jason Manford offer an array of truths and lies for their fellow panellists’ assessment in Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, 8:30pm); Life of Crime continues (ITV, 9:00pm); the week’s news is discussed in Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Rod Stewart, the Made in Chelsea cast and Miles Kane drop in on Alan Carr for Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Daniel Radcliffe pulls up a pew 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 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 £1,466 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.

You can join the ‘Action 4 Alex’ campaign on Facebook or go directly to her auntie’s Go Fund Me page to donate.

Thank you.