Here I provide a comprehensive list of the best of the coming week’s TV – and it’s a good one if you like Dan Brown, Big Brother and baking. Although I admit that the chances of you liking all three are very slim.
Saturday 17th August
Xander and Richard are back to welcome some more celebrities to play the game which tests general – and pointless – knowledge like no other.
Surely no one can be unfamiliar with the premise of Pointless by now, but I’ll briefly explain it anyway: 100 people have been given 100 seconds to name as many things which apply to a category. So, to give an example from Wednesday’s show, it could be, ‘Name as many Christmas songs with the word ‘Christmas’ in the title’. The aim is to think of the least popular answer – one which none of the 100 said (in this case it was ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses – a very good song, contrary to what Alexander Armstrong claimed). The pair with the most amount of points at the end of each round is eliminated until only one remains, and they will not only win the coveted Pointless trophy, but will also have a chance to take that episode’s jackpot by giving three answers to a question and hoping that one of them is pointless. Do that, and they’ve won!
It really is simpler than I’ve made it sound.
The first episode is sitcom-themed, with stars of comedies past and present competing to win money for their charities. The contestants are: Red Dwarf stars, Craig Charles (Lister) and Danny John-Jules (Cat); Bread’s Jean Boht (Nellie) and Nick Conway (Billy); Hi-de-Hi! actors, Su Pollard (Peggy) and Jeffrey Holland (Spike); and Mrs Brown’s Boys couple, Brendan O’Carroll (Agnes) and Jennifer Gibney (Cathy).
So, will the Browns beat the Boswells? Will the Maplins crew maul the mining ship mob? We’ll have to wait and see – although it may be worth pointing out that Brendan O’Carroll is a member of Mensa, so the odds are in his favour…
Also today: The surprisingly good That Puppet Game Show continues (BBC1, 6:35pm), with guests Gary Lineker and Freddie Flintoff; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is on ITV while Channel 4 are showing Mission: Impossible (both at 7:00pm); some more patriotic silliness in I Love My Country (BBC1, 7:15pm); Thatcher: The Downing Street Years (BBC2, 8:10pm) gets a repeat; Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz star in comedy thriller, Knight and Day (Channel 4, 9:00pm); A Very British Witchcraft (More4, 9:00pm) tells the story of the Wicca group; and Stephen Merchant: Hello Ladies, the comedian’s 2011 tour, makes its debut on Channel 4 at 11:10pm.
Sunday 18th August
Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival
Over six weeks, Countryfile presenter, Ellie Harrison will be joined by some of the BBC’s most highly-regarded wildlife experts to bring us the stories of the plight of some of Britain’s most endangered animals.
Each week, Ellie and her guests will champion a creature which they want to save from extinction, and also recall the stories of animals who managed to survive against the odds. This week, the focus is on animals such as the red squirrel, adder and Scottish wildcat.
Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival is just one part of BBC Learning’s Summer of Wildlife strand, which also includes Springwatch and BBC2’s The Burrowers.
Also today: Helen Mirren delivers her multi award-winning performance in The Queen (ITV, 4:30pm); Step Up 3 premieres (Channel 4, 4:40pm); Will Smith and Eva Mendes star in Hitch (Channel 5, 5:50pm); Sherrie Hewson, Britt Ekland and Robin Cousins (who I share my birthday with – not that it’s relevant) are on Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (ITV, 7:00pm); Antiques Roadshow returns (BBC1, 8:00pm); period drama, The Mill concludes (Channel 4, 8:00pm), as does BBC1’s The White Queen (9:00pm); and (very different) films Dear John (10:05pm) and Frost/Nixon (10:30pm) are on Channel 4 and BBC2, respectively.
Monday 19th August
Big Brother: The Final
Channel 5, 9:00pm
After nearly ten weeks of twists, turns, bitch fights and love triangles – and that’s just Dexter! – the Big Brother 14 Final is here, but who will walk away with that £100,000 prize?
Now, I’m writing this on the morning of the final eviction (Friday), so, apart from Gina and Dexter, I don’t know for definite who’s in the Final. So, I’m just going to write about each housemate and their chances of winning. If you haven’t watched Big Brother this year, the following few paragraphs will be tedious and confusing; I advise you don’t read them – unless of course you love my writing so much that you can’t resist the urge to…but that’s unlikely.
Charlie I have to admit that I missed the whole Charlie/Dexter/Callum love triangle – actually I missed the first five weeks of the show altogether – so I’m not basing my opinion of her on that. I quite like her. I’m not entirely sure whether she’s trying to create a ‘showmance’ – to quote Sophie – between herself and Dexter but on the whole I do like her, and felt very sorry for her when she was annihilated during the friends and family nominations. I don’t think she has much chance of winning, but I wouldn’t be particularly bothered if she did.
Dexter I think Dexter’s great. In my opinion, he hasn’t playing the game at all (well…not much) and the tense twist last Thursday, after which he claimed he didn’t see the £99,000 option, was a genuine mistake. He’s been a very entertaining housemate and handled situations with dignity. I would very much like to see him be this year’s winner.
Jack & Joe Oh God! Please don’t let these two win! Their attempts to be the roly-poly funny ‘uns of the house are blatant and embarrassing. Everyone’s focusing on Dexter not taking the £99,000 but let’s not forget that Jack and Joe had the opportunity to pick that sum before he did, but instead opted for £96,850. Now that might be a mere £2,150 difference, but in terms of that game – in which the housemate who chose the least amount of money would apparently have won that and left the house that night – it made all the difference. I just hope that they don’t win – and I don’t think they will, either.
Sam Yes, he’s cute. Yes, I go slightly weak when I see him without his shirt, but I believe that Sam has been very lucky not to have been booted out already. Apart from having – to coin his own phrase – an infamous ‘winky expansion’, he hasn’t done much. Therefore, in the past few weeks, he has been kicking off about anything and everything – particularly with Dexter – to get himself noticed. Of course, I can’t argue with the fact that he sets a good example to other people with hearing difficulties, but he has done nothing, in my opinion, to warrant winning the show.
Sophie Just like Sam, Sophie has been in the background somewhat during this series, with the focus usually being on people like Gina, Dexter, Daley, etc. – the characters in the house. I wouldn’t mind seeing her win, though. When I spoke to my auntie yesterday about Big Brother (I don’t know anyone else who watches it and neither does she, so when we see each other it’s the only topic of conversation), she said that Sophie is a game-player and troublemaker. So she may have seen something during the first five weeks which I missed but I really like Sophie. Whether she will have enough fans to be voted as the winner, however, is another matter.
Gina When I watched the Launch Shows (I stopped after the second), I despised Gina. She seemed incredibly stuck-up and dismissive of everyone who didn’t live the life of luxury like herself. Now, though, I think she has mellowed and become a really likeable person, with possibly the biggest chance of taking the Big Brother crown than any of her fellow housemates. I have to say that I’ve become slightly confused in the past couple of days with Gina: one minute she likes Charlie and is defending her against Hazel, and the next she’s slating her to Dexter and telling him that she cannot bear to live with her any more. I’m willing to overlook the inconsistencies in her attitude, though, because I think she’s been a fantastic housemate.
What do you think of this year’s Big Brother? Tell me who you think should win by commenting here or tweeting me – @UKTVReviewer.
Also today: Jane McDonald pampers workers across the country in Star Treatment (ITV, 12:30pm); get ready for the fourth series of Downton Abbey as ITV3 begin their repeat of all of the episodes to date from 5:25pm; Flog It! Trade Secrets returns (BBC2, 6:30pm); Paralympian, Ade Adepitan returns to Nigeria in Journey of My Lifetime (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Tony Singh and Cyrus Todiwala host The Incredible Spice Man (BBC2, 8:30pm); Natasha Kaplinsky goes behind-the-scenes of the selection process for the Royal British Empire Medal in The People’s Medal (ITV, 9:00pm); Thailand’s Drug Craze: Stacey Dooley Investigates is on BBC3 (9:00pm); Shaun of the Dead is on ITV2 – again (9:00pm); sci-fi drama Under the Dome, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, begins (Channel 5, 10:00pm); ahead of its return on 25th August, remind yourself of Brooker and Maier’s brilliance as the first series of A Touch of Cloth is repeated (Sky2, 10:00pm); and Road to Referendum (ITV, 10:35pm) looks at the changes in Scotland over the past six decades.
Tuesday 20th August
The Great British Bake Off
Yes! Mel, Sue, Paul and Mary are back for another ten weeks of tense whisking, crimping and piping as the tent is re-opened for the fourth series of Bake Off.
This year sees a first for the show as 13 bakers will enter the marquee in the first episode and, as the weeks go on, will be whittled down until just one remains and takes the crown from 2012 winner, John Whaite. There’s not necessarily safety in numbers, either, as this baker’s dozen will have to work extra hard if they want to impress Paul and Mary and stay in the competition. That’s because, if they decide to, they could send not one but two bakers packing at one time. Harsh!
Angel Food, chocolate and sandwich cakes are all on the menu in this first episode, but who will be the first to – or first two to – leave the contest?
Also today: There’s the return of Double Your House for Half the Money (Channel 4, 8:00pm), The Midwives (BBC2, 9:00pm), urban drama Top Boy (Channel 4, 9:00pm) and Don’t Tell the Bride (BBC3, 9:00pm); as well as one-off documentary The Naked Rambler (BBC1, 10:35pm), which follows former Royal Marine, Stephen Gough as he walks naked from Scotland to Hampshire.
Wednesday 21st August
Welcome to the World of Weight Loss
With more people than ever on diets, and obesity rates continuing to sky-rocket, this one-off documentary follows those who attend slimming clubs and aims to find out whether following such regimes helps.
Welcome to the World of Weight Loss follows attendees at Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley Groups across the country over a twelve week period, showing their highs and lows as they battle the fat and try to shed the pounds.
One person who features in the light-hearted programme is Slimming World regular, Santash Sharma (pictured), who was given the title of Miss Slinky 2012 in her local group.
Also today: Gary Lineker’s past is the focus of this week’s Who Do You Think You Are? (BBC1, 9:00pm); Tom Hanks and Ian McKellen star in movie adaptation, The Da Vinci Code (Channel 5, 9:00pm), followed by The Da Vinci Code: The True Story (Channel 5, 11:55pm); The Man Who Collected the World (BBC4, 9:00pm) looks at William Burrell’s vast art collection, which he donated to Glasgow in 1944; and, despite having been axed after just one series, comedy-drama Great Night Out begins its repeat run (ITV, 10:35pm).
Thursday 22nd August
Sky1 HD, 9:00pm
Budget supermarket Valco is re-opening its doors for a third year as Gavin, Julie and co. return for a new series of the jewel in Sky’s comedy crown, Trollied.
I recently reminded myself of the brilliance of this show by watching the first series yet again on DVD – and the second series is now on order. There’s not one weak performance and all of the characters – whether they be the foul-mannered Colin, warm-hearted Margaret or prissy Julie – are great to spend time with. Why no other channel snapped it up before Sky, I’ve no idea.
As you may have gauged from the advertisements, Valco is now under new management. As we saw at the end of the last series, Stephanie Beacham’s Hilary Devey-esque character, Lorraine is gone, leaving Julie and Gavin holding fort again. However, that’s all soon to change as The Spa and Pete vs Life star, Chris Geere turns up as Valco’s new Head of Strategy, Richard France, whose unorthodox approach to management doesn’t sit well with some of the staff. Plus, Gavin’s Spanish love interest, Anna (Elizabeth Bower) gets a job at the store to be closer to him. Julie doesn’t take this news well, however, as she still has eyes for her manager.
It looks set to be another series which will have us rolling in the aisles.
The second part of Sky1 HD’s all-new Thursday night line-up is Chickens, which began life as a pilot for Channel 4 in 2011. As you can probably tell, though, Channel 4 decided not to develop it any further, so Sky jumped in and took it for themselves.
Written by comedy pals Jonny Sweet, Simon Bird and Joe Thomas, the series follows Bert, Cecil and George – three men who have decided not to go to war, whether that be due to flat feet, conscientious objection or just pure laziness.
Having been written by and starring two of the stars of The Inbetweeners, there was a lot riding on Chickens first time around – and perhaps that’s why I was left disappointed by it. Hopefully now that it’s on digital TV and has got the first episode out of the way already, the pressure will be off and expectations won’t be quite as high.
Also today: Location Location Location is back (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Paul O’Grady’s Working Britain comes to an end (BBC1, 9:00pm); Poaching Wars with Tom Hardy (ITV, 9:00pm) sees the Dark Night Rises actor travel to Africa; The Imposter premieres on Channel 4 (9:00pm); and Celebrity Big Brother begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm).
Friday 23rd August
Celebrity Big Brother: The Big Twist – Live
Channel 5, 9:00pm
Yes, this summer’s famous faces may have entered the house last night but it is tonight that the Big Twist is to be announced.
I’m not even going to speculate what that twist is going to be – what with Big Brother’s track record, he could throw anything at the contestants. However, I will run through who is rumoured to be taking part this year: larger-than-life dancer, Louie Spence; GMTV fitness guru, Mr Motivator; shamed football pundit, Ron Atkinson; Loose Woman, Carol McGiffin; whiney-voiced Apprentice star, Luisa Zissman; extravagant singer, Boy George; and ex-Corrie star (read attention-seeking bimbo), Helen Flanagan.
As any Loose Women viewer will know, Carol is a huge fan of Celebrity Big Brother, and her close friend Denise Welch of course won the show in early 2012, with her former LW panellist, Coleen Nolan coming an admirable second in last year’s summer series. I think she’d be great in the house – and certainly wouldn’t hold back if she disagreed with something. I’d definitely vote for her to win – but maybe that’s just because I have an obsession with Loose Women that a seventeen-year-old boy should never have.
Also today: Football’s Funniest Moments (Sky1 HD, 8:00pm); a repeat of Peter Kay Live at the Top of the Tower (Channel 4, 9:00pm); film, The Shawshank Redemption (ITV2, 9:00pm); the unnecessarily lengthily-titled, How to Become a World Music Star: Buena Vista, Bhundu Boys and Beyond (BBC4, 9:00pm); James, Freddie, Jamie and Jack return with more sports-themed fun in A League of Their Own (Sky1 HD, 9:00pm); Jack Dee hosts the second series of (the often tedious) Don’t Sit in the Front Row (Sky1 HD, 10:00pm); another chance to see Peter Kay: In Conversation (Channel 4, 10:20pm), in which Danny Baker interviews the comedian about his career; and A to Z of World Music (BBC4, 10:30pm) showcases the wide range of musical genres from across the globe.
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: Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival – Thanks to BBC and Outline Productions, ©Outline Productions; Big Brother: The Final – ©Five; The Great British Bake Off – Thanks to BBC, Love Productions and Des Willie, ©Love Productions; Welcome to the World of Weight Loss – Thanks to BBC and Vanessa Engle, ©BBC; Trollied – ©Sky1/Jon Hall; Chickens – ©Colin Hutton for Sky1 HD; Celebrity Big Brother: The Big Twist – Live – ©Five.