Category Archives: ‘The Village’

TV Highlights (4th – 10th May)

Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – and introductions to this year’s Apprentice hopefuls.

Saturday 4th May

Britain’s Got Talent

ITV, 7:15pm

Britain’s Got Talent can often be difficult to watch. The manipulation of auditionees, exposing and ridiculing them purely for the public’s entertainment, has become more apparent to me during this series.

Yet I can’t stop watching.

Somehow BGT has something which The Voice UK can only dream of. Exactly what that ‘something’ is, I don’t know – but if definitely has it. Perhaps it’s the ability to entertain…

This week, a dancing duo who go by the name of Martin & Marielle amaze the judges (and, from what I’ve seen, you will undoubtedly be amazed too), drag act Bosom Buddies take to the stage, and MckNasty sails through his audition with his drumming/DJing. It probably also helps that he’s Labrinth’s brother. And Labrinth is managed by Simon Cowell.

Also today: Ahead of Into Darkness’ release on Friday, Star Trek is on Channel 4 at 9:00pm and Zachary Quinto and Zoe Saldana, the film’s stars, are guests on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:20pm).

Sunday 5th May

The Village

BBC1, 9:00pm'The Village' - BBC1, 9:00pm

I’m going to be honest, I stopped watching The Village after the second episode. The first instalment was brilliant, but the second was weaker – so I stopped watching. Now I’m hearing really good things about it but it’s too late to return, so all I can do is preview tonight’s final episode and envy those of you who persevered.

The 1920s marks the end of the war for the Middletons, and the village mourns the many residents it lost during the conflict. As the surviving locals decide how best to honour the fallen, friction is caused until they all eventually agree on a memorial. However, one name has been left off of the list – which causes upset.

Fans of The Village will be pleased to know that a second series of the show has been commissioned for next year. Peter Moffatt, the series’ writer and creator, said, ‘I’m thrilled at the prospect of bringing to the screen the plans I’ve got for all these characters (and some new ones) as the life of the village moves away from the horror of war and into the roaring Twenties.’

Also today: Romantic classic Dirty Dancing is on Channel 5 at 6:00pm; Channel 4 premieres Gulliver’s Travels, starring Jack Black and Jason Segel, at 7:25pm; the final episode of Endeavour is on (ITV, 8:00pm); and Hugh Laurie presents the last episode of Perspectives, looking at the history of American blues music (ITV, 10:00pm) – also see Friday’s episode of The Graham Norton Show form more music from Hugh.

Bank Holiday Monday (6th May)

Planet Earth: A Month in the Wild

BBC1, 4:00pm

This special documentary examines the importance of the month of May for the animal kingdom.

Across the world, May signals the beginning of new life and over the course of this 90-minute documentary, we will see five animal families try to survive the month – including a baby elephant in Kenya taking its first steps, an endangered meerkat in the Kalahari Desert and two black bear cubs in North America who will rely on their mother to see them through May.

Also today: a SuperScrimpers special is on Channel 4 at 8:00pm; Jason Bradbury is back with more Motor Morphers (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is on BBC1 at 8:30pm; whether it’s good for business I don’t know but it is quite enjoyable – Greggs: More Than Meats the Pie continues (Sky1, 9:00pm); and ITV commences with its quite average night of Monday comedies – Vicious is on at 9:00pm and the, quite safer, The Job Lot is at 9:30pm.

Tuesday 7th May

The Apprentice

BBC1, 9:00pm

Up here in the North-East, Prokofiev’s ‘Dance of the Knights’ could signal two things: either the Sunderland football team are emerging from the tunnel at the Stadium of Light, ready to do their supporters proud (or, as they did on Monday when playing Aston Villa, simply relax for a bit) or The Apprentice is back for yet another bloody series. It may be less exciting, but tonight it is the case of the latter as Lord Sugar and his aides, Karren Brady and Nick Hewer, are ready to put another sixteen candidates through their paces and, at the end, find someone to enter into certain obscurity and become Sir Alan’s new business partner.

So, who are this year’s hopefuls?

Luisa Zissman - 'The Apprentice' 2013 Luisa Zissman

Luisa is a Retail Entrepreneur from St. Albans who describes herself as having ‘The energy of a Duracell bunny, sex appeal of Jessica Rabbit, and a brain like Einstein.’

She also claims to be confident, logical and outspoken.




Uzma Yakoob - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Uzma Yakoob

Uzma, a Make-Up Brand Owner from London, thinks of herself as confident, creative but impatient.

She said, ‘If I believe in something, I will go to the end to make sure it’s done.’




Leah Totton - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Leah Totton

 A twenty-four-year-old Doctor, originally from Northern Ireland, Leah says that others think of her as caring, kind and professional – although she can often be too ambitious. Ah! The old ‘pretending a positive is a negative’ trick, eh?

Apparently she can bring ‘youth, vibrancy, enthusiasm and a touch of class to any business.’



Jaz Ampaw-Farr - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Jaz Ampaw-Farr

 Jaz is a Literacy and Education Company Director from Milton Keynes.

According to her, she ‘can process things at a speed which is out of this world!’ and has no time for those who do not share her vision for business.

So she can calculate fast, can she? Let’s just wait and see…


Sophie Lau - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Sophie Lau

 Sophie is a Restaurateur from Bristol who claims to be innovative and intelligent.

She also says, ‘I don’t have a mutli-million pound business but what I do have is the raw talent, the drive and the competitive streak.’



Rebecca Slater - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Rebecca Slater

 A Medical Rep from Wigan, Rebecca is inspired by Alex Polizzi and Mary Portas’s willingness to try anything and thinks of herself as authentic, generous and adventurous – but impatient, just like Uzma.

As her picture suggests, Rebecca is a feisty figure, claiming, ‘If somebody crosses me, it’s game over.’



Francesca MacDuff-Varley - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Francesca MacDuff-Varley

Francesca works as a Dance and Entertainment Entrepreneur in Leeds and is therefore unsurprisingly inspired by Debbie Moore (founder of Pineapple Dance Studios) and Arlene Phillips.

It looks as if Rebecca may have a fight on her hands to be the toughest cookie in the board room, as Francesca says, ‘I’m prepared to fight to the death to become Lord Sugar’s business partner.’


Natalie Panayi - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Natalie Panayi

A Recruitment Manager from Rickmansworth, Natalie is passionate about fashion and money.

She says, ‘When it comes to business, I am the complete package, and when it comes to sales, I’m the best.’

Let’s hope she’s not setting herself up for a huge fall, eh?



Tim Stillwell - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Tim Stillwell

Tim is a Mexican Food Entrepreneur and is interested in food and money.

Apparently, he has a ‘happy-go-lucky’ and ‘never give up’ attitude and is energetic. However, he has said that he can become unfocused at times.

Well I bet that’s exactly what Lord Sugar wants in a business partner. I admire his honesty, though.


Neil Clough - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Neil Clough

Neil works as a Regional Manager for soccer centres in Altrincham and claims to be focused (meaning he already has an advantage over Tim), determined and driven. He also admits, though, that he can be very competitive and very opinionated.

Oh, and he’s a Manchester United fan – so he may have made enemies in  Tottenham-supporting Sugar and West Ham’s Vice-Chairman, Karren Brady.


Alex Mills - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Alex Mills

As well as looking like the love child of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and David Mitchell, Alex is a Company Director from Cardiff who is interested in calculations and design and claims ‘I’m the new breed of businessman that this process requires.’

Oh, yeah. I’d forgotten that candidates refer to this reality television programme as ‘a process’.


Zeeshaan Shah - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Zeeshaan Shah

I don’t think he is sneering at the camera. Although it certainly looks like he is.

Zeeshaan is the CEO of a Property Investment Company in London. He grew up in Pakistan and believes his greatest strengths to be his eternal optimism (he doesn’t look optimistic in the picture!), his street-smartness and good connections.


Jason Leech - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Jason Leech

Jason is a Property Entrepreneur from London who respects businesses such as John Lewis, Waitrose and American Express for their quality and high standard of customer service. Oh, and he watches Question Time.

Jason describes himself as having ‘effortless superiority’.

Doesn’t he sound like a joy to work with?


Jordan Poulton - 'The Apprentice' 2013 Jordan Poulton

Jordan works as a Business Analyst in London and, while he finds it difficult to ask for help, he is optimistic, charismatic and calm under pressure.

He summarises his worldly experience by saying this: ‘I have worked in third-world countries and first-world countries. I know what it’s like to struggle to feed kids and I know what it’s like to fly in a private jet.’


Kurt Wilson - 'The Apprentice' 2013

Kurt Wilson

In Liverpool, Kurt is a Health & Safety Manager and Health Drink Entrepreneur.

He seems very determined, having said, ‘I’m an alpha-male; I always get my own way and know what to make people do what I want.’

Okay, Kurt. Okay.


Myles Mordaunt - 'The Apprentice' 2013 Myles Mordaunt

Myles is a Marketing Company Co-Founder and, in his words, ‘business perfection personified.’ Nice alliteration there, Myles.

Apparently, he is also ‘passionate, charming and determined’ but has a tendency to be ‘too much of a perfectionist.’

Just reading that makes me want to hurl a brick through my computer screen.

So, there we have it. The 2013 hopefuls (sorry, candidates) hoping to impress Lord Sugar. I have a feeling that some will try to impress too much. But then I suppose you don’t need to when you’re ‘business perfection personified’ – eh, Myles?

Tonight, the teams must try to sell the contents of two shipping containers – but one will be given The Finger and ‘Fired!’ by Sir Alan.

Also today: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are the focus of the first episode of Caroline Quentin’s National Parks (ITV, 8:00pm); Chris Tarrant hosts the first of three special Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? episodes, during which viewers can play along at home (someone’s been taking inspiration from The Million Pound Drop…) (ITV, 9:00pm); The Apprentice’s Rebecca Slater may need to control her excitement as Mary Portas’s new series, Mary Queen of the High Street, begins (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and Jo Fairley, Katherine Ryan and Matt Edmondson share their views on tonight’s episode of The Apprentice: You’re Fired (BBC2, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 8th May


BBC2, 9:00pm

Created in partnership with The Open University, Bankers is the BBC’s attempt to answer to fundamental questions: will bankers ever regain our trust, and what exactly do we want from them?

Over the three-part series, experts such as bank bosses, regulators and politicians offer first-hand experience of the banking crisis and delve into the complexities of it.

In this first episode, ‘Fixing the System’, the Libor interest-rate fixing scandal is discussed, as are its effects on industry last summer.

Also today: Gabby Logan, Toyah Willcox and EastEnders’ Jake Wood and their partners test their knowledge of each other in All Star Mr & Mrs (ITV, 8:00pm); the second episode of The Apprentice sees the teams try to sell their own brand of flavoured beer (BBC1, 9:00pm); and A Question of Sport, postponed from 1st May, is broadcast on BBC1 at 10:35pm.

Thursday 9th May

Murder on the Home Front

ITV, 9:00pm

Loosely based on Molly Lefebure’s (Keith Simpson’s secretary during the Second World War) memoirs, Murder on the Home Front stars Boardwalk Empire’s Patrick Kennedy alongside Tamzin Merchant (The Tudors) and The Vicar of Dibley’s James Fleet.

This new crime drama depicts the 1940s Blitz, during which the people of London were truly living life for the moment, but sheds a different life on it – presenting it as full of vibrancy, energy and rebelliousness.

However, Murder on the Home Front also shows those who picked the moments of darkness, during the Luftwaffe’s attacks, to commit crime – and literally get away with murder.

Also today: Bradford: City of Dreams delves into life in the West Yorkshire city (BBC2, 8:00pm); Star Trek: The True Story begins its three-part run (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Paul O’Grady is back in Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for another series of his award-winning For the Love of Dogs (ITV, 8:30pm); BBC1 launches its show which is in no way inspired by Channel 4’s Hoarder Next Door, Britain’s Biggest Hoarders (BBC1, 9:00pm); Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, starring a young Russell Tovey and James Corden alongside the late Richard Griffiths, is on BBC4 at 9:00pm; and one-off documentary Sex on Wheels takes a candid look at how disabled people keep their romance alive (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Friday 10th May

Life of Crime

ITV, 9:00pm

Written by Declan Croghan (who has also worked on Taggart, Ripper Street and Waking the Dead), Life of Crime starts Hayley Atwell as Denise Woods – a policewoman who is far from afraid to take risks.

The three episodes which comprise this series depict Denise’s three decades in the force, from her fight against sexism in her twenties right through to the present day, in her late forties/early fifties, when she is a senior officer with a lot to lose.

When we join Denise in this first episode, it is 1985, she is a young WPC, full of ideas and rebelling against her mother’s far more sensible career wishes for her. However, when she finds a young girl dead in a narrow alley after the Brixton Riots, she begins to fight to bring the killer to justice.

Also today: Stephen Mangan, Gok Wan, Isy Suttie and Charles Dance exchange truths and untruths in another episode of Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, 8:30pm); John Cooper Clarke and Michael Fabricant are on Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Chawton House plays host to a Regency ball to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s classic novel in Pride and Prejudice: Having a Ball (BBC2, 9:00pm); Rob Brydon, David Gandy and Jessie Ware appear on Alan Carr: Chatty Man (Channel 4, 10:00pm); The Suspicions of Mr Whicher gets a repeat, ahead of its return on Sunday (12th May) (ITV, 10:25pm); and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Broadchurch’s (surely BAFTA-winning?) star Olivia Colman and Lord Sugar take a seat for The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm) – which also features a performance from Hugh Laurie. And if Stephen Fry cannot be seen flamboyantly preparing a cocktail while Hugh plays the piano, I shall be sorely disappointed.

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 £1,340 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.


TV Highlights (30th March – 5th April)

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

Saturday 30th March

The Voice UK

BBC1, 7:00pm

Be it a good or a bad thing, The Voice UK returns to BBC1 tonight – along with the same Coaches (not “Judges”): The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue; The Black Eyed Peas’; Pontypridd’s very own, Tom Jones’; and Chadwell Heath’s finest, Jessie J.

If last year’s series is anything to go by, the coming few weeks’ Blind Auditions will be the highlight of the series – and then it will be downhill from there. The BBC have at least tried to improve this series (with the extension of the Blind Auditions round and halving of the number of Live Shows from six to just three) but whether this will make any difference remains to be seen.

It probably doesn’t help that the show is going up against Saturday Night Takeaway on ITV…

Also today: Doctor Who returns with guest star Celia Imrie (BBC1, 6:15pm); BBC2 screens a tribute to the late Richard Briers (BBC2, 7:00pm); after a week at the top of the charts, Ant & Dec welcome Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan, Michael Buble and Lewis Hamilton to their aforementioned Saturday Night Takeaway (ITV, 7:00pm); and the much-anticipated Life’s Too Short Special is on BBC2 at 10:00pm.

Easter Sunday (31st March)

The Village

BBC1, 9:00pm

An all-star cast led by Maxine Peake (dinnerladies, Silk) and John Simm (Life on Mars, The Lakes) feature in this six-part period drama set in a Derbyshire village.

Depicting the events of the mid- to late-1910s (but narrated from a present day perspective), The Village shows the austere times in which its central family, the Middletons, lived. Over the six weeks, we witness key events which shaped the lives of not just the inhabitants of the village but people nationwide – whether that be political changes or the alternative ways in which people began to view sex, religion and class.

With its amalgamation of the past and present, The Village seems, to me, quite similar to ITV’s Lightfields, which concluded last Wednesday. Whether it be Call the Midwife, Mr Selfridge or the irrepressible Downton Abbey, period drama is proving to be very successful at the moment – so The Village is already guaranteed to be something of a hit. Add to this the strong cast list which it boasts and we look set for a hugely enjoyable drama, filling the void recently left by the previously mentioned triad of programmes.

Also today: Michael Ball welcomes guests such as Nicole Scherzinger, Denise van Outen and Myleene Klass for Andrew Lloyd Webber: 40 Musical Years (ITV, 6:30pm); and, following on from yesterday’s tribute to Richard Briers, BBC2 repeats a documentary profiling one of the late actor’s biggest sitcom hits – All About The Good Life is on at 7:00pm.

Easter Monday (1st April)

Jonathan Creek

BBC1, 9:00pm

Alan Davies dons the duffle coat once again as he is joined by a host of stars including Sheridan Smith, Joanna Lumley and Rik Mayall for an Easter special of David Renwick’s detective drama.

In this episode, a man’s body mysteriously vanishes from a locked room – much to the upset of his wife, Rosalind (Lumley). Jonathan is initially reluctant to get involved with the case but his intrigue gets the better of him and he is soon rejoined by Joey Ross (Smith) to try and crack the case. However, his old rival, DI Gideon Pryke (Mayall) is also back – having last been seen in the show’s 1998 Christmas special. So, the eponymous sleuth now not only has to try and solve the case of the disappearing body, but he also has to do so before Pryke can beat him to it!

Also today: there’s an extended episode of The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 6:55pm); and Hairy Bikers’ Best of British returns to BBC2 (7:00pm).

Tuesday 2nd April

The Syndicate

BBC1, 9:00pm

Kay Mellor’s brilliant drama, following a group of northern hospital workers who win the lottery, continues.

The focus of tonight’s episode is Rose (Alison Steadman) who decides to use her windfall to get her knees treated privately. However, the pressures of the limelight get to her and she turns to Mandy (Siobhan Finneran) for help – but soon realises that she isn’t the only one with problems.

Also today: Claudia Winkleman hosts the first episode of The Great British Sewing Bee (BBC2, 8:00pm); we find out whether Sara will finally tell her parents she’s gay in the last in the series of Heading Out (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Ruby Wax, Alex Horne and Dave Gorman offer their nominations for unusual prizes in the hit-and-miss The Matt Lucas Awards (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 3rd April

Hillsborough: Never Forgotten

BBC2, 9:00pm

In this one-off documentary, survivors and the families of victims of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster speak about the heartache they endured for over twenty years and how last year’s report from the Hillsborough Independent Panel impacted their lives.

In what is bound to be a poignant, thought-provoking film, The Right Rev James Jones (The Bishop of Liverpool and leader of the Independent Panel) discusses how he and his colleagues gathered evidence for and managed to produce the verdict which quashed the original – that citing ‘Accidental Death’.

Also today: Nick Crane returns with a brand new series of Coast on BBC2 at 8:00pm; and Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are back as sleuths Rachel and Janet in the third series of Scott & Bailey (ITV, 9:00pm).

Thursday 4th April

Prisoners’ Wives

BBC1, 9:00pm

As much as I adore others listed in this post (The Syndicate, Call the Midwife, Downton, etc.), I struggle to think of any TV drama of recent years which has gripped, intrigued and entertained me quite as much as Julie Gearey’s Prisoners’ Wives.

I find it quite difficult to express my love for this programme. Everything about it is special: the writing, acting and direction are as close to perfection as you can get. Regardless of whether you like or dislike a character, you cannot help but be drawn in by their individual story – whether it’s how a prisoner is coping with life on the inside or how their families are coping with life without them on the outside.

The story of Harriet and her troubled son Gavin is particularly heart-wrenching. Such is the intense concoction of love and distrust in their relationship, I know someone who finds it disturbing to watch. This storyline (which sees Harriet finally find love while worrying about her fragile son being pressurised into converting to Islam) has triumphantly showcased the wonderful talents of Pippa Haywood and Adam Gillen. I now neither think of the former as ‘Helen from The Brittas Empire’, nor the latter ‘Lesley’s son from Benidorm’. I regard them as highly competent performers who, as well as making us cry with laughter, can also make us do so with sadness.

There are a lot of loose ends to be tied up in this final episode of the criminally short second series. Will Francesca clear her name? Will Aisling make it down the aisle? Will Kim and Mick move on from her infidelity and his imprisonment? And, most importantly, will Harriet finally be happy?

Also today: former Dragons’ Den investor Hilary Devey helps a group of teenagers find work in The Intern (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Peter Andre: My Life is back on ITV2 at 9:00pm; and Leo Maguire’s True Stories documentary premieres on Channel 4 (10:00pm) as he investigates the appeal of ‘dogging’ – and there isn’t a canine in sight…

Friday 5th April

Not Going Out

BBC1, 9:30pm

A lot of BBC1’s top comedy output returns tonight but the series which I am most looking forward to is undoubtedly Not Going Out.

Now into its sixth series (despite having been axed after its third), Lee Mack’s fast-paced, gag-packed sitcom is still going strong – and remains head-and-shoulders above its contemporaries. Over its seven-year run, the RTS Award-winning sitcom has seen many characters come and go – from Megan Dodds’s Kate, to Simon Dutton’s Guy and, of course, Miranda Hart’s hilariously lazy Barbara. However, this new series sees its biggest departure yet: Tim Vine (who played Lee’s best mate…Tim) has now left the show to concentrate on other things. Now, exactly what those other things are – except his 2012 teatime ITV gameshow, Don’t Blow the Inheritance – I have no idea, but I wish him luck. It seems, though, that a huge Tim-shaped hole will be present over the next eight weeks – and it remains to be seen whether Mack has decided to fill it with a new face or not (although he did tell the British Comedy Guide that a new character will be introduced at the end of the series).

Nevertheless, some of our favourite characters are still popping up in the show: level-headed landlady Lucy and Tim’s girlfriend Daisy are still there as feeds to Lee’s perfect witticisms. Old favourites who are also back in this series include Lucy’s conservative parents Geoffrey and Wendy, as well as Lee’s liberal dad, Frank (played by the brilliant Bobby Ball).

In this episode, Lucy has run-over a hugely important client’s pet rabbit – so she enlists Lee’s help in order to get her off the hook.

Also today: Stephen Mangan is in the host’s chair for the beginning of the forty-fifth series of Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); The Apprentice’s Karren Brady is grilled by Piers Morgan in the last in the series of Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Channel 4 show that they are milking the Alan Carr brand as much as they can in his Grand National Specstacular (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and The Graham Norton Show demonstrates how to launch a new series with guests including Tom Cruise, Gerard Butler and Olga Kurylenko (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