Category Archives: ‘The Voice UK’

This Week in TV – 11th – 17th January

Following on from a week that provided a triumphant return for Catherine Tate, a hugely enjoyable Life Stories thanks to Mary Berry and the best first week of Celebrity Big Brother for a long time, here’s what is in store for the next seven days.

Saturday 11th January

The Voice UK

BBC1, 7:00pm'The Voice UK' - BBC1, 7:00pm

Yes, everyone’s fifth favourite talent show is back for a third (and final?) series.

As I’m sure you’re aware, there are a few changes this year: Jessie J and Danny off of The Script have left to focus on their music (code for ‘have jumped ship before it sinks’), so Kylie Minogue (pictured) and Ricky off of the Kaiser Chiefs are sitting in their chairs, alongside regulars will.i.am and Tom Jones. He used to know Elvis, don’t you know.

The presenting team has altered somewhat in this series too. And by ‘somewhat’ I do of course mean ‘entirely’. Emma Willis has signed up as part of her quest for TV domination, and Marvin Humes is also on board. Well, it keeps him out of the dole queue.

Perhaps I should make it clear that I’m not a huge fan of The Voice. But I do like Kylie. And Emma Willis. So I might gave it another chance.

Also today: Dynamo: Magician Impossible comes to BBC1 (5:30pm); Shane Richie hosts new game show Reflex (BBC1, 6:15pm); Keith Duffy dons his budgie smugglers for Splash! (ITV, 7:00pm); new US series Hostages begins (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Torvill and Dean are on The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:45pm); and star-studded comedy film Burke and Hare premieres (BBC2, 10:15pm).

Sunday 12th January

Sherlock

BBC1, 8:30pm

Unsurprisingly, the new series of Sherlock has been as popular as ever, but it all ends for another year tonight, seemingly just two minutes since it came back. Worry not, though, Steven Moffat said last week that series four and five have already been planned out, so it seems that we’ve a few more'Sherlock' - BBC1, 8:30pm years’ worth of Conan-Doyle’s tales left to enjoy.

Tonight, in an episode entitled ‘The Last Vow’ (ooh, ominous), a case of stolen letters leads Sherlock to confront the one man he truly hates: Charles Augustus Magnussen. It’s certainly not going to be easy for him to get to the bottom of this one.

A Timeshift special, entitled ‘How to be Sherlock Holmes: Many Faces of a Master Detective’, follows on BBC4 at 10:00pm, taking a look back at the many actors who have taken on the role of the sleuth.

Also today: The next batch of ‘all stars’ enter the rink for Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6:15pm); Paul Potts and Ann Widdecombe lock horns on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Simon Reeve explores the east African tea industry in This World (BBC2, 8:00pm); and a highlights package of the very best of thirty seven years of It’ll Be Alright on the Night (ITV, 9:00pm).

Monday 13th January

The Great Sport Relief Bake Off

BBC2, 8:30pm

The baps will be out and there’ll be soggy bottoms galore (but enough about Mazza Bezza) as a whole host of stars – and, unusually for a celebrity series, I do mean stars – enter the tent, roll up'The Great British Sport Relief Bake Off' - BBC2, 8:30pm their sleeves and get baking in aid of Sport Relief.

While Downton’s Samantha Bond, boxer Nicola Adams, actress Bonnie Wright and (the unrelated) Michael and Johnny Vaughan take part tonight, we can also look forward to seeing Jane Horrocks, Jason Gardiner, Michael Ball, Jamelia, Rochelle Humes and many more try their hands at baking this week.

Not only that, but over the next four nights we will also see a variety of presenters guide the competitors through their cake-based disasters: 50% of the regular team, Sue Perkins, will host the first episode, then we’ll have Jo Brand on Tuesday, Omid Djalili on Wednesday and Ed Byrne on Thursday. Don’t ask me why; we just do.

Also today: Dramatically-titled documentary series The Sheriffs Are Coming returns (BBC1, 11:00am); A Place in the Sun: Winter Sun is back (Channel 4, 2:10pm); Hannah White presents endurance series Go Hard or Go Home (Channel 5, 8:00pm); there’s a Fake Britain special (BBC1, 8:30pm); Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents is back, this time with the focus on Thailand (BBC3, 9:00pm); one-off documentary Dave: Loan Ranger (Channel 4, 10:00pm) sees entrepreneur Dave Fishwick help people who are in deep debt; Baby Faced Brides (Channel 5, 10:00pm) follows teenagers who are getting married; and Nick Helm’s likeable sitcom Uncle gets a full series on BBC3 (10:00pm), following its pilot on Channel 4 in 2012.

Tuesday 14th January

House of Fools

BBC2, 10:00pm

Set in Bob’s home, House of Fools is exactly what you’d expect of a Reeves and Mortimer sitcom: it’s disorganised, it’s surreal but, above all, it’s very funny. Well, it looks like it is anyway.

Yes, this new series is set in Bob Mortimer’s house – but you wouldn’t think it, as the place is'House of Fools' - BBC2, 10:00pm perpetually populated by a plethora of people (ok, I’ll stop with the alliteration) who it seems are uninvited and merely turn up in order to annoy poor Bob. People such as Vic, whose long-term stay in the house means that he has come to have a complete disregard for Bob’s wishes and has begun to treat the place like his own. Then there’s Erik – Bob’s Norwegian son (did I really have to tell you that this is a Reeves and Mortimer script?), Julie from next door, ladies’ man Beef, and ex-con Bosh. Together, they all comprise the titular House of Fools.

As well as starring Vic and Bob themselves, the series also features top comedy talent such as Daniel Simonsen, Matt Berry, Morgana Robinson and the much under-valued Dan Skinner.

Also today: Ben Miller bows out of Death in Paradise (BBC1, 9:00pm); wildlife documentaries Wild Brazil (BBC2, 9:00pm) and Paul O’Grady’s Animal Orphans (ITV, 9:00pm); Underage and Over the Limit focuses on underage drinkers in, surprise surprise, Sunderland (BBC3, 9:00pm); and Autopsy: The Last Hours of Whitney Houston is on Channel 5 at 10:00pm.

Wednesday 15th January

The Kumars

Sky1 HD, 9:00pm

Yes, after an eight year absence from our screens, Britain’s best-loved, and only, chat show family are back for a brand new series, this time on Sky.

So, what’s happened to the British-Asian family since we'The Kumars' - Sky1 HD, 9:00pm last saw them? Well, following a downturn in fortunes, the Kumars have had to move out of number 42 and are now living in a flat in Hounslow. Also, Sanjeev is divorced and Madhuri (Mum) has returned to India, meaning that the series has been made without Indira Joshi. Whether that was her choice or not we don’t know.

Other than that, things are pretty much as-was, and Sanjeev will continue to battle through his family squabbles and try to keep control of his chats. And what chats they’ll be as the recession may have hit the Kumars but the quality of their guests has not been compromised: Olivia Colman, Richard E Grant, Elizabeth McGovern, Daniel Radcliffe, Dame Diana Rigg and many, many more will drop in for a chat throughout the six weeks.

Also today: We find out who will follow in Evander Holyfield’s footsteps and be the next to leave Celebrity Big Brother (Channel 5, 9:00pm); British Comedy Award-winning Nina Conti hosts Live at the Apollo (BBC1, 9:30pm); and a Cutting Edge special takes a look at a new adoption scheme (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Thursday 16th January

Birds of a Feather

ITV, 8:30pm

It was always going to fare quite well. Given that, at its peak, the series was drawing in 27 million viewers and ran for 102 episodes, Birds of a Feather was undeniably a hit in the nineties, and while'Birds of a Feather' - ITV, 8:30pm the return was met with some anger, confusion and more than a little indifference, it has been generally warmly received, giving ITV its biggest audience for a sitcom since Barbara (remember that?) almost fourteen years ago.

It does seem to me that Birds wouldn’t have been commissioned without the preceding BBC series. It is enjoyable, but mainly because we already know and love the characters, and are therefore likely to laugh at anything they say or do. It wouldn’t be able to hold its own against more contemporary series (Miranda and Mrs Brown’s Boys stand out in my mind) but it is enjoyable. Even just for Lesley Joseph.

Tonight, Garth and Marcie aren’t having any ‘together time’, so Tracey decides to move Sharon out of her room and onto the sofa. However, when this fails, Sharon takes to sleeping in the loft, where she may just find something to solve her sister’s financial problems.

Also today: Wildlife series Hidden Kingdoms begins (BBC1, 8:00pm); and the brilliantly acerbic Charlie Brooker has more Weekly Wipe (BBC2, 10:00pm).

Friday 17th January

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories

ITV, 9:00pm

We’ve already had two highly enjoyable Life Stories this series, thanks to June Brown and Mary Berry, and now it’s the turn of Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey to take a grilling from Piers.'Piers Morgan's Life Stories' - ITV, 9:00pm

In this candid interview, Neil tells his side of the story for the first time about his infamous five week- long affair with Amanda Holden, who was married to Family Fortunes host Les Dennis at the time. He claims that the affair was inevitable and he never has apologised to Les, nor has any intention to. It may be worth noting that, while talking about the affair, Neil condemns Amanda for discussing the topic in her autobiography, published around the time that the programme was recorded. Pot. Kettle. Black.

The actor will also talk about going into care at the age of ten, his current marriage and his many encounters with the rich and famous. But not Amanda Holden. Because it would be wrong to talk about that so publicly, wouldn’t it Neil?

Also today: An Island Parish returns (BBC2, 8:30pm); Kathy Burke and Josh Widdicombe join in the literacy- and numeracy-based fun of 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm); there’s another Celebrity Big Brother Eviction (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Susan Calman, Sandi Toksvig and Liza Tarbuck are on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); there’s a repeat of Sarah Millican’s brilliant 2011 show, Chatterbox (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Graham Norton welcomes Michael Fassbender, Lena Dunham, Idris Elba and Olivia Colman onto his 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: The Voice UK – Thanks to BBC and Guy Levy, ©Wall to Wall; Sherlock – Thanks to BBC and Robert Viglasky, ©Hartswood Films; The Great Sport Relief Bake Off – Thanks to BBC and Scott Kershaw, ©Sport Relief Ltd; House of Fools – Thanks to Pett Productions and Christopher Baines, ©BBC; The Kumars – ©Justin Downing for Sky 1 HD; Birds of a Feather – ©ITV/Retort/QuirkyMedia Stuff; Piers Morgan’s Life Stories – Thanks to Kieron McCarron, ©ITV.

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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’ will.i.am; 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