Category Archives: TV Highlights/This Week in TV

This Christmas in TV – 1st – 5th December

It seems not long ago that I sat down to write about what festive treats the TV networks were serving up for us in 2013, yet here we are again: entering the final month of this year, which means it’s time for the Christmas specials to come creeping out once more. Unless, of course, you’ve been watching Channel 5 over the past few weeks; they’ve wasted no time at all in rolling out the festive films!

Monday 1st December

Phillip Schofield’s Text Santa Marathon

ITV, 10:30amPhillip Schofield's Text Santa Marathon - ITV3 from 11:00am

Since its launch in 2011, ITV’s Text Santa appeal has raised a huge £15 million for various charities across the UK. However, it still doesn’t seem to be having a huge impact on the nation. Maybe it’s too soon after Children in Need. Maybe it’s simply too close to Christmas. Whatever the reason, ITV’s third favourite presenter (after Messrs McPartlin and Donnelly, of course), Phillip Schofield, is hoping to raise more awareness for the cause and, hopefully, more money for the six charities involved – more information on which is available on the Text Santa website – by hosting a 24-hour telethon with the aid of some celebrity pals.

Dropping by to help Phil get through his time on air will be the stars of Coronation Street and  Emmerdale, Pixie Lott, The Vamps, Ben Hanlin, some former I’m a Celebrity campmates and even Ant & Dec themselves, on a live link from Australia.

The intrepid Silver Fox will also be getting involved in a few activities as his time on ITV3 – along with the occasional stint on ITV and ITV2 – will see him compete in a national pub quiz, host a live auction for top celebrity memorabilia, become an honorary Loose Woman for the day (ITV, 12:30pm) and be presented with what the network are calling ‘the challenge of a lifetime’…

If you want to make Phillip’s efforts worthwhile, you can donate to Text Santa via his Just Giving page. All proceeds to Text Santa are divided equally between the six chosen charities: Teenage Cancer Trust, WellChild, Together for Short Lives, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Guide Dogs and the Alzheimer’s Society.

Also today: Digital channel Gold kicks off its 25 Days of Christmas; BBC1 answers the question Could I Get Ebola? (7:30pm); Lauren Laverne presents coverage of the announcement of the winner of the Turner Prize (Channel 4, 7:30pm); Wild Weather With Richard Hammond begins by looking at wind (BBC1, 9:00pm); and Channel 5 counts down the Most Shocking TV Moments (10:00pm).

Tuesday 2nd December

17 Kids and Counting 

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Luckily for Schofe, following his 24-hour telethon, he might just be asleep when this documentary'17 Kids and Counting' - Channel 4, 9:00pm airs.

Since we last saw the Radford family as part of the series 16 Kids and Counting last year, a few things have changed. Some of the older children are now looking to leave home, which one may think would give parents Sue and Noel a chance to enjoy a – slightly – quieter home but ‘one’ would be wrong as they are now looking forward to becoming grandparents again.

This one-off documentary follows the Radfords as they prepare for their new arrival and deal with the general trials and tribulations of being Britain’s largest family.

Also today: The semi-final of UK’s Strongest Man (Channel 5, 7:00pm); a repeat of last year’s documentary, Britain’s Craziest Christmas Lights (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Autopsy looks at The Last Hours of Elvis Presley (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and there’s another chance to see the 2013 Christmas special of The Sarah Millican Television Programme (BBC2, 10:00pm) – which funnily enough features Phillip Schofield.

Wednesday 3rd December

The Apprentice 

BBC1, 9:00pm

After firing James last week – or Derek, as I believe he is now affectionately known – Lord Sugar sets the remaining eight candidates a task entitled ‘Ten Years of Discount Buying’.

Having been told the task by Lord Sugar personally at the'The Apprentice' - BBC1, 9:00pm house, Teams Summit and Tenacity set out across London in the hope of finding a range of items featured in the previous nine series of the show – but in the hope of spending the least amount of money, not the most. A bit like Supermarket Sweep in reverse.

Surprisingly, despite 20 candidates starting out, this series of The Apprentice has allowed many characters to shine through: Steven, Daniel, Felipe and, of course, the aforementioned James. My favourite candidate, however, and the person I’m rooting for throughout the ‘process’ (the very use of that word make me despise myself) is Katie (pictured, right). Ok, she may be a fellow Mackem but she is also a very good businesswoman, it seems; she’s forceful, brimming with determination and very clever. Unlike many candidates, though, she manages to be all of this without also coming across as vindictive and ruthless. I like to think of her as a slightly watered-down Luisa Zissman.

Of course, Dara Ó Briain follows the main show with the brilliant The Apprentice: You’re Fired! on BBC2. This week, he’s joined by entrepreneur, Mike Soutar and comedian, Romesh Ranganathan.

Also today: Chris Terrill presents documentary series Living on the Edge (Channel 5, 7:00pm); and I’m sure little description is needed for Asbo & Proud (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Thursday 4th December

The Railway: First Great Western 

Channel 5, 8:00pm

This documentary series taking a look inside one of the UK’s largest rail companies returns for a  second series.'The Railway: First Great Western' - Channel 5, 8:00pm

Last year, we met many of the ticket inspectors, drivers and technical folk who help to keep First Great Western going day-to-day. We saw the daily struggles that they go through, coping with customer complaints, negative press and issues with the rail network, and tonight’s opening episode is no different as we find out how the staff managed to get through the bad weather of last winter.

Also today: Kirsty Young presents the final Crimewatch round up of the year (BBC1, 9:00pm).

Friday 5th December

The Graham Norton Show 

BBC1, 10:35pm

It’s quite widely noted that Graham Norton has a consistently high calibre of guests for his show –'The Graham Norton Show' - BBC1, 10:35pm arguably higher than that of Alan Carr and Jonathan Ross. Many use this argument as a case for  Graham’s show being in some way better than his contemporaries’ but I disagree: calibre doesn’t always equal entertainment in my opinion, and I often prefer to see British performers on such shows rather than big Hollywood types, who are no doubt sick of the seemingly endless queue of interviewers wanting to find out about their latest role.

The big names undoubtedly draw in huge audiences, though, and I can’t imagine a booking more guaranteed to do this than One Direction, who are chatting and performing on Graham’s show this week. They’re not alone on the sofa, though, as Michael Keaton and Jamie Oliver also drop by for a chat, and there will of course be more stories in the infamous Red Chair.

Fingers crossed Harry Styles can find some personality to prevent the interview from dragging along.

Also today: Jack Dee hosts Have I Got News For You (BBC1, 9:00pm); Ross Noble, Kathy Lette and Sue Perkins are quizzed on all things gender-related on QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Alan Carr welcomes George Ezra and Lee Evans, who will hopefully find the balance between absurdity and sincerity – unlike on The Jonathan Ross Show last week (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

The next This Week in TV (for 6th – 12th December) will be published at midnight on Monday (1st December).

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: Phillip Schofield’s Text Santa Marathon – ©ITV PLC; 17 Kids and Counting – Thanks to Channel 4 and Lion TV; The Apprentice – Thanks to BBC, ©Boundless/Jim Marks Photography; The Railway: First Great Western – Thanks to Channel 5; The Graham Norton Show – Thanks to BBC and Christopher Baines, ©So TV.

This Week in TV – 15th – 21st March

Yes, I’m now trying This Week in TV on YouTube. You never, know, it might work. I’ve also posted trailers/previews for all of the programmes that I could get hold of. Enjoy!

Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – Holly Willoughby is pranked on the set of Surprise Surprise

Harry’s South Pole Heroes – Trailer

The Widower – Trailer

W1A – Trailer

Davina: Beyond Breaking Point – This clip shows the third, and toughest, day of Davina’s challenge

Sport Relief – Take a look at the star-studded video for Little Mix’s ‘Word Up’ – this year’s official Sport Relief song

This Week in TV – 22nd – 28th February

Following on from a week that showed how great TV can be (Andrew Marr’s Jonathan Ross Show appearance, Sunday’s Call the Midwife and Emmerdale’s current HIV storyline) while also plumbing the depths of tedium (Splash!, Andrew Sachs’s interview on This Morning and Alex Turner’s BRITs acceptance speech), here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 22nd February

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

ITV, 7:00pm

After a four year hiatus, Ant and Dec returned with their Saturday Night Takeaway last year and stayed true to form by attracting a plethora of stars to take part, with Mila Kunis, Simon Cowell, One Direction, Robbie Williams and Ricky Gervais all making an appearance.

One of last year’s guests, Michael Buble, makes a'Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway' - ITV, 7:00pm reappearance this week as he steps into the voiceover booth to be the Guest Announcer and also provides the always fabulous End of the Show-Show. Elsewhere, Ashley Roberts will oversee another ‘Ant vs Dec’ challenge, the duo fool Holly Willoughby on the set of Surprise Surprise, Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford take part in ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get Outta Me Ear’, Little Ant & Dec cause trouble at the BAFTAs.

Of course, there’ll be lots of other surprises for the audience – both at home and in the studio – and probably a mention of Ant’s ‘thumb situation’ too.

Also today: An I’m a Celebrity… themed edition of The Cube: Celebrity Special (ITV, 6:00pm); the last of the blind auditions in The Voice UK (BBC1, 7:00pm); the last in the current series of Take Me Out (ITV, 8:20pm); and Jack Whitehall and McBusted join Jonathan Ross for a natter (ITV, 9:50pm).

Sunday 23rd February

Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole

BBC1, 4:15pm

Intrepid presenter Steve Backshall sets off on another Deadly 60 mission in this programme, and as'Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole' - BBC1, 4:!5pm the title suggests he’s embarking on a trek across the world – from the North to the South Pole.

Along the way, Steve will risk encountering some of the world’s most dangerous animals. Beginning in the Arctic, the presenter has run-ins with polar bears, walruses and whales.

Just like his previous missions, this isn’t going to be an easy one for Steve, but I’m sure he’ll manage. Just.

Also today: Dancing on Ice crawls towards its finale (ITV, 6:15pm & 8:30pm); former I’m a Celeb contestants Sinitta and Dougie Poynter are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Time Team (Channel 4, 8:00pm) focuses on Castle Drogo in Devon; hit comedy film Bridesmaids premieres on Channel 4 at 9:00pm; and TOWIE returns (ITV2, 10:00pm).

Monday 24th February

Impractical Jokers

BBC3, 10:00pm

For some reason, this hidden-camera comedy series went'Impractical Jokers' - BBC3, 10:00pm somewhat unnoticed during its first  series in 2012. That’s a real shame, as I can quite honestly say that I found it to be one of the funniest shows on TV in the last few years.

The set-up is simple: four friends and comedians (Roisin Conaty, Marek Larwood, Joel Dommett and Paul McCaffrey) are put into various everyday, but very public, situations and must challenge each other, with the aid of an earpiece, to do or say incredibly embarrassing things. If they succeed, they win points, but if they abstain or fail, they win nothing. The person who has the least amount of points at the end of the show must then undergo a terribly embarrassing forfeit – previous examples of which include stripping off in a launderette, performing a lapdance in a nightclub, and giving a motivational speech to a room of unimpressed businesspeople, using a presentation prepared by the other Jokers. The latter forfeit is in the clip below, which does contain strong language but is also very, very funny – and very, very juvenile.

Contains strong language

Also today: Operation Hospital Food with James Martin (9:15am), Countryside 999 (11:00am) and Antiques Road Trip (4:30pm) all return to BBC1; new quiz series Revenge of the Egghead begins (BBC2, 6:00pm); The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 7:00pm), Silk (BBC1, 9:00pm) and One Born Every Minute (Channel 4, 9:00pm) are back; and Can’t Pay? We’ll Take It Away! (Channel 5, 9:00pm) looks at the world of debt collection.

Tuesday 25th February

Strippers

Channel 4, 10:00pm'Strippers' - Channel 4, 10:00pm

This three-part series takes an in-depth look at Scotland’s strip club industry.

We begin by entering Diamond Dolls in Glasgow, which is run by Shelley and employs over 40 dancers. Here, viewers of the programme will gain an insight into how the performers juggle work with their home lives and what they really think about the industry they are part of. For example, Kim (pictured) explains why she sacrificed her gymnastics success for a life of lap dancing and Laefana opens up about how her job helps pay the debts from her nursing degree.

The punters of the clubs featured will also tells us why they like to go to such places as the series progresses and also visits Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Also today: Permission Impossible: Britain’s Planners (BBC2, 7:00pm); Kirstie Allsopp presents Kirstie’s Best of Both Worlds (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Max Hastings presents documentary The Necessary War (BBC2, 9:00pm); The Mentalist (Channel 5) and The Vampire Diaries (ITV2) return at 9:00pm after their mid-season breaks; Steve Jones presents new challenge series, Hair (BBC3, 9:00pm); and sitcom Pramface is back for a new series (BBC3, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 26th February

Party Wright Around the World

ITV2, 9:00pm

In this new series, former TOWIE star Mark Wright travels the globe to meet various groups of'Party Wright Around the World' - ITV2, 9:00pm friends in often very different locations. His challenge after he has got to know them is to throw them a party that they’ll never forget.

Yes, ITV really have spent money on this.

Mark begins his three month-long journey in Miami, but the series will also see him travel to such gorgeous locations as New York, Australia and…oh, Somerset.

I’m guessing the budget was pretty much non-existent by the time Somerset was decided upon…

Also today: Born to Kill? returns (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Festivals, Sex & Suspicious Parents begins (BBC3, 9:00pm); and comedy drama film Beginners, starring Ewan McGregor, premieres on Channel 4 at 12:05am.

Thursday 27th February

Bluestone 42

BBC3, 10:00pm

I wasn’t particularly impressed by this bomb disposal unit-set sitcom when it began last year, and'Bluestone 42' - BBC3, 10:00pm have to admit that I haven’t watched any episodes since the first. It must have proved popular with some, though, as it spawned a Christmas special and second series, which begins tonight.

Having made his debut in the Christmas episode, Matthew Lewis returns as the fresh-out-of-training Corporal Gordon House, nicknamed Towerblock, who is in possession of a new weapon: the Glock 17. This prompts Captain, Nick to try to prove himself by undergoing a weapons-handling test – but it doesn’t exactly go swimmingly.

Elsewhere, Simon attempts to improve his intellect by studying Art of War – and draws Bird into his obsession, landing her in trouble.

Also today: One-off documentaries Royal Funerals: The Inside Story (Channel 5, 7:00pm), Jumbo: The Plane That Changed the World (BBC2, 9:00pm) and The Storms That Stole Christmas (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and new factual series Junior Paramedics begins (BBC3, 9:00pm).

Friday 28th February

Jonathan Creek

BBC1, 9:00pm

Jonathan hasn’t done too badly with his sidekicks over the years, has he? Caroline Quentin, Julia'Jonathan Creek' - BBC1, 9:00pm Sawalha and Sheridan Smith all joined the sleuth from 1997 to 2013, and now Sarah Alexander is  helping out as Alan Davies dons the duffle coat for a series of three new cases.

In tonight’s opening episode, Jonathan, as always, must employ his magic knowledge as he investigates the mystery of an actress’ murder in her locked dressing room. The victim, Juno Pirelli’s wounds cannot be explained and no murder weapon can be found, yet, with her life hanging in the balance, someone must be accountable.

Jonathan has his own troubles, though: he and his wife Polly (Sarah Alexander) have recently suffered a sudden personal tragedy, and their marriage is about to be thrown into jeopardy as a series of disturbing family secrets are uncovered.

Also today: Mel C, Gyles Brandreth and Adam Hills are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); John Humphrys returns to his native Cardiff in Coming Home (BBC2, 8:30pm); Niall Ferguson uses cutting-edge technology to offer his perspective on World War I in The Pity of War (BBC2, 9:00pm); and a stellar Graham Norton Show line-up on BBC1 at 10:35pm, with Fifty Shades star Jamie Dornan, Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul, Naomi Campbell, The Kaiser Chiefs and Ant and Dec all taking to the sofa.

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: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway – Thanks to ITV; Deadly on a Mission: Pole to Pole – Thanks to BBC NHU, ©Johnny Rogers; Impractical Jokers – Thanks to BBC, ©Yalli Productions; Strippers – Thanks to Channel 4; Party Wright Around the World – ©ITV; Bluestone 42 – Thanks to BBC and Coco Van Oppens, ©BBC; Jonathan Creek – Thanks to BBC and John Rogers, ©BBC.

This Week in TV – 8th – 14th February

Following on from a week that saw appointment television like The Big Benefits Row, Age Gap Love and the heartbreaking Hunted, here’s what’s on over the next seven days.

Saturday 8th February

The Jonathan Ross Show

ITV, 9:55pm

You do kind of have to feel sorry for Wossy. He hasn’t exactly had the best guests this series, has he? In fact, he hasn’t had the best guests since his move to ITV.

I don’t want to start sounding too much like Ian Hyland but if we'The Jonathan Ross Show' - ITV, 9:55pm compare The Jonathan Ross Show  to The Graham Norton Show, the contrast in the quality of guests is obvious. For example, on the first show back after his Christmas and New Year break, Graham welcomed Sly Stallone, Robert De Niro, Jonah Hill and Carey Mulligan to his sofa. Impressive! Over on Jonathan’s show? Naomie Harris, Jennifer Saunders, Jamie Cullum and Paddy McGuinness made an appearance. Of course, there is an argument for British stars being more relevant to a British audience (plus Naomie Harris was in the much-anticipated Nelson Mandela biopic at the time) but, let’s face it: it hardly makes for inspiring reading, does it? Or viewing, for that matter.

So, is Wossy’s line-up any better this week? Well, yes to be fair. John Legend performs, Kiefer Sutherland discusses the new 24, Chris O’Dowd chats about his new film Cuban Fury (which looks very good), Emily Mortimer talks about her sitcom Doll & Em and Kevin Bridges explains why he’s not doing much at the moment – which does beg the question, why’s he on The Jonathan Ross Show?

Also today: The second semi-final of Splash! (ITV, 7:10pm); and Tony Robinson returns with Walking Through History (Channel 4, 8:00pm).

Sunday 9th February

Babylon

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Directed by Danny Boyle, this one-off comedy drama stars a wide range of acting talent.'Babylon' - Channel 4, 9:00pm

James Nesbitt, Jill Halfpenny, Jonny Sweet, Martin Trenaman and more appear in Babylon, in which  Liz Garvey (played by US actress Brit Marling) is introduced by Chief Constable Richard Miller (Nesbitt) to revamp the police. Her job is to improve PR with the force – dragging it into the twenty-first century; the age of rolling news, smart phones and social media.

However, we also see some of the other cops at work in London, as cameraman Matt Coward follows them around for his fly-on-the-wall series.

Tonight’s 90 minute programme acts at the pilot. A full series of six episodes will follow later this year.

Also today: An 80s-themed Dancing on Ice, celebrating 30 years since Torvill and Dean’s success at the Olympics (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); and Sir Steve Redgrave and Natalie Anderson are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm).

Monday 10th February

Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring 

Channel 5, 9:00pm

After what he has many times called the worst year of his life (having been arrested as part of Operation Yewtree), Jim Davidson was voted the winner of Celebrity Big Brother last month.'Jim Davidson: At Least I'm Not Boring' - Channel 5, 9:00pm

Now I wasn’t particularly bothered that he won. I shocked myself by forgiving his vile stand-up routines and “gags” and instead being happy for him winning. But then I remembered why he was kicked off of Hell’s Kitchen. I remembered that he last year compared the Paralympics to “f*cking Robot Wars”, likened a black competitor to “a Peparami” and, on the topic of the twenty three-times gold medal-winning Ellie Simmonds, stated, “I f*cking hate midgets…they’re horrible”. Of course, comedians’ jokes – however unfunny – do not necessarily represent their true views, but surely no one can deny that some of Jim Davidson’s routines are plainly unacceptable.

Anyway, controversies aside, this documentary charts the rise, fall and rise again of Jim Davidson – from his early days on New Faces to Big Break and The Generation Game, his arrest last year and then finally his CBB success.

Also today: Crime drama series WPC 56 is back (BBC1, 2:15pm); Danny Baker’s Rockin’ Decades (BBC4, 9:00pm); off the back the success of Benefits Street and The Big Benefits Row, Richard Bacon hosts Benefits Britain: The Debate (Channel 4, 10:00pm); spoof documentary The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (BBC4, 10:00pm); and the first of a three part series, Danny Baker Rocks the Seventies (A Bit) (BBC4, 10:30pm).

Tuesday 11th February

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer

ITV, 8:00pm

As you may or may not be aware, last week’s Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was in fact  the last-ever. After'Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris's Final Answer' - ITV, 8:00pm fifteen years there are no more audiences to be asked, no more friends to be phoned and no more fifties to be fiftied.

Yes, I am aware that that doesn’t make sense. Just go with it though, please.

In this programme, the show’s host, Chris Tarrant, reflects on the past one and a half decades – from the six top prize winners (five of whom were clever enough not to cheat) to some of the most unfortunate losers.

Also today: Police 5 (Channel 5, 7:30pm) offers up crime prevention advice; 200 Nips and Tucks and I Want More! (Channel 5, 9:00pm); new dating show Sexy Beasts (BBC3, 10:00pm); and some magic in Troy (E4, 10:00pm).

Wednesday 12th February

Suspects

Channel 5, 10:00pm

The press pack for Suspects claims that it is ‘an innovative new British crime drama’.

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of ‘innovative’ is, ‘something new or different’. That might'Suspects' - Channel 5, 10:00pm be worth keeping in mind as I tell you that Suspects is an improvised series filmed in a documentary  style. We follow a team of detectives in each stand-alone episode as they investigate a different case. That sounds remarkably similar to ITV’s 2012 improvised series, Crime Stories, which was also filmed in a documentary style, with each stand-alone episode following detectives as they investigate a different case.

I’m not suggesting that Suspects isn’t going to be good. I’m merely pointing out that it is not ‘innovative’ – well, not in the popular sense of the word, at least.

Also today: Line of Duty returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); Dominic Cooper stars in drama series Fleming, about the creator of the James Bond books (Sky Atlantic, 9:00pm); and documentary series First Dates is back (Channel 4, 10:00pm).

Thursday 13th February

Benidorm 

ITV, 9:00pm'Benidorm' - ITV, 9:00pm

For some reason, this series of Benidorm has attracted some criticism. Many have stated that it  has been the weakest run to date but I completely disagree – I don’t think I’ve found the show this funny since the second series! It’s rude, crude and borders on the ridiculous but also simply brilliant!

Plus it stars Danny Walters. *Swoon*

Anyway, back to the matter in hand. This week’s episode is the last in the series and sees a clash for the Garveys and the Dykes, Joyce put under pressure and some very big guests turn up in the form of Rustie Lee, the Krankies and Joan Collins!

Rustie’s the main feature though, obviously.

Also today: The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure (BBC2, 8:00pm); The Kidnapping of Shergar (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Bible Hunters (BBC2, 9:00pm); and the best bits of Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe (BBC2, 10:00pm). His coverage of Hayley’s death on Corrie was a particular highlight for me.

Friday 14th February

Student Nurses: Bedpans and Bandages 

ITV, 8:00pm

Beginning tonight, this eight-part series follows the work of trainee nurses in Manchester and  Birmingham.

Over the course of the series, we get to know the students as they try their best to cope with the struggles on the wards, in training and at home. Hopefully it will also show the NHS in a good light, given its recent bad rap in the papers.

May I also just say happy Valentine’s Day to all of the singletons out there? I shall be spending 14th February in London, surrounded by many of my friends who are in relationships. Let’s all share the pain of singletude, eh?

Also today: Vernon Kay, Miles Jupp and Kelly Hoppen are on Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Ian Botham is the subject of the last Life Stories of the series (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights concludes (Channel 4, 9:00pm); more Alan Davies: Après Ski (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Matt Damon, Hugh Bonneville and Paloma Faith round-off the current series of 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 –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: The Jonathan Ross Show – Thanks to Nicky Johnston, ©ITV; Babylon – Thanks to Channel 4 and Dean Rogers; Jim Davidson: At Least I’m Not Boring – Thanks to Five; Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Chris’s Final Answer – Thanks to ITV, ©Sony Pictures Television; Suspects – Thanks to Five; Benidorm – Thanks to ITV, ©Tiger Aspect.

This Week in TV – 1st – 7th February

Greetings! And following on from a week that saw bleeding eyes in Splash!, crashes aplenty on Channel 4’s The Jump and Jim Davidson re-enter the nation’s good books, here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 1st February

Splash!

ITV, 6:50pm'Splash!' - ITV, 6:50pm

Vernon Kay and Gabby Logan join coach Tom Daley for the first semi-final of celebrity diving  competition, Splash!.

Taking part tonight are: Diversity’s Perri Kiely; model, Danielle Lloyd; Boyzone star, Keith Duffy; and presenter, Michaela Strachan. I’ve just watched each of their first dives on YouTube (as I can’t be bothered to watch the programme in full – or at all for that matter) and it seems that Perri is the stand-out diver, although I was quite impressed by Danielle and Keith.

However, who the public and judges pick to go through to the final is another matter.

Also today: Liam Neeson, Peter Andre and Goldie Hawn are on The Jonathan Ross Show, with Pixie Lott providing the music (ITV, 9:35pm).

Sunday 2nd February

A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack

BBC1, 10:25pm'A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack' - BBC1, 10:25pm

Tonight, the BBC shows a half-hearted tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack.

Now, I’m saying ‘a half-hearted tribute’ because it’s a ten minute programme, featuring interviews  with his friends and colleagues, followed by a repeat of the first episode of Only Fools and Horses – in which he appears for all of 3 minutes 11 seconds (yes, I timed it. No one can say I don’t put effort into this blog.)

To think, the show’s writer, John Sullivan, got a full thirty minutes when he passed away in 2011.

It just seems such a waste. For a man who has left such a mark on British comedy, and the news of whose death caused such an outpour of adoration from the nation, I can’t help feeling that the BBC could have done more to celebrate his fantastic achievements – both on- and off-screen. Surely they could have extended the tribute programme for a start; ten minutes will surely not be enough to shed light on his TV, film and stage roles, as well as his tireless charitable and political campaigns. Then, to follow that, why not show an episode of Only Fools in which he is more prominent – ‘Ashes to Ashes’ or ‘The Jolly Boys Outing’, perhaps? Or show an episode of The Vicar of Dibley? Or even – as a last resort – The Old Guys? Or all three!

I just think that Roger Lloyd-Pack deserves more than this short ‘tribute’.

Also today: Dancing on Ice, sans Zaraah Abrahams (ITV, 6:15 & 8:30pm); Janine Duvitski and Scott Mills’s families go head-to-head on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Top Gear returns (BBC2, 8:00pm); and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall presents new documentary series Scandimania (Channel 4, 8:00pm).

Monday 3rd February

The Big Benefits Row: Live

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Channel 5 cash-in on the success (for want of a better word) of Benefits Street with this: a live debate surrounding the topic of the country’s welfare system, and whether it needs to be revised.

Kelvin McKenzie, Katie Hopkins and Edwina Currie will be joined by a live studio audience to debate how easy it is to cheat the system, whether immigrants should be able to claim benefits, and are the sums available just out of control?

It’ll likely be controversial and cause a storm on Twitter – so Katie Hopkins will love it.

Also today: A Horizon special (BBC2, 9:00pm); DCI Banks is back (ITV, 9:00pm); and BBC3’s Growing Up Down’s, also at 9:00pm.

Tuesday 4th February

Births, Deaths and Marriages

ITV, 9:00pm

This two-part fly-on-the-wall series, following the highs and lows of life at Westminster register office,  begins tonight.

The office, which holds the birth and marriage records for big names including Winston Churchill,'Births, Deaths and Marriages' - ITV, 9:00pm Joan Collins, Paul McCartney and Margaret Thatcher, sees the registration of thousands of marriages a year, and this series takes a look at just some of them.

In the first episode, we meet Head Registrar, Alison Cathcart, who registered Prince George’s birth last summer, as she prepares to marry a couple who have no witnesses for their union so – yep, you guessed it – have to ask two willing volunteers from the street to stand in on the ceremony. However, it’s not all joy: married couple Tony and Rebekah arrive at the office to register the birth of their daughter Joanna, who was born with congenital heart disease. Sadly, we also see them register Joanna’s death just two weeks later.

To say that this is going to be a rollercoaster of emotion is an understatement!

Also today: Kevin Bridges, Rachel Riley and more take to the hot seat for (what is said to be the last-ever) Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (ITV, 8:00pm); She’s 78, He’s 39: Age Gap Love (Channel 5, 9:00pm) meets couples whose ages haven’t stopped them loving each other; and Christine Lagarde presents The Richard Dimbleby Lecture (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 5th February

Inside No. 9

BBC2, 10:00pm'Inside No. 9' - BBC2, 10:00pm

Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s eagerly-awaited dark comedy Inside No. 9 begins  tonight.

Each of the six episodes in this series will focus on a different street, going behind the door of a different number 9, revealing the strange and dark goings on inside the building. In the first episode for example, a couple’s engagement party leads to a game of ‘sardines’ and some quite odd revelations.

Everything points to Inside No. 9 being a hit – not only because it’s from the pen of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton but also because it features an array of guest stars (Tamsin Greig, Anne Reid, Katherine Parkinson and Gemma Arterton to name just a couple) and has been recommissioned for a second series by the BBC, before the first episode has even aired.

Also today: Documentaries Royal Cousins at War (BBC2, 8:00pm), Touring Car Legends (ITV4, 8:00pm), Extreme Beauty Queens: Secrets of South America (BBC3, 9:00pm) and Sherlock: The First CSI (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Thursday 6th February

The Big Reunion

ITV2, 9:00pm

Following the unexpected, monster hit that was the first series of The Big Reunion last year, ITV2 have of course brought it back once again for 2014 – only this time with a somewhat less inspiring  line-up.'The Big Reunion' - ITV2, 9:00pm

A1, Eternal (except Louise), Damage, 3T and Girl Thing are all reforming. Er, I’m sorry: who? Fair enough, A1 and Eternal I have heard of but the rest? Is that the bottom of a barrel I hear being scraped? I can only assume the producers could get in contact with neither The Fast Food Rockers nor Scooch…

There is some good news, though: a ‘supergroup’ has also been formed of musicians who enjoyed a brief stint in the charts – so less The Big Reunion, more The Big Union. 5th Story, as they are called, comprises of Kenzie (of Blazin’ Squad fame), Adam Rickitt (the Nick Tilsley before the current one in Corrie), Gareth Gates and Dane Bowers (off of Katie Price’s hit list) and Kavana (your guess is as good as mine, quite frankly).

I’m sure that, as with last year, the most enjoyable parts will be seeing the performers being interviewed about the bitch fights and bust-ups that caused the group to split in the first place, as well as them reunite and discuss their differences amicable. Yeah, right!

Also today: Documentaries Pound Shop Wars (BBC1) and Help! I’m Snowtrapped (Channel 5) at 8:00pm; the sixth series of Inspector George Gently begins (BBC1, 8:30pm); Big Ballet sees plus-size dancers prepare for a performance of Swan Lake (Channel 4, 9:00pm); The Hotel Inspector is back (Channel 5, 9:00pm); Brain Hospital: Saving Lives begins (Channel 5, 10:00pm); and new Chris Lilley series, Ja’mie: Private School Girl is on BBC3 at 10:00pm.

Friday 7th February

Winter Olympics

BBC2, 3:30pm

For the next three paragraphs I shall attempt to sound knowledgeable about sport. Do bear with me.

Clare Balding presents coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony – and may I  just say how kind it is of Vladimir Putin to allow someone of her orientation into the city. He must be feeling particularly level-headed and'Alan Davies: Après Ski' - BBC2, 10:00pm intelligent at the moment, eh?

Then later, at 9:00pm, Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day will tell the story of the duo’s famous Bolero routine, which helped them win gold in Sarajevo thirty years ago. Incidentally, on 13th February, they will return to the country, and the very same stadium, to perform the routine once again.

Straight after Torvill & Dean: The Perfect Day, new series Alan Davies: Après Ski begins at 10:00pm, which, each Friday, will see the comedian and guests take an irreverent look back at the action from the Olympics. Is it just me, or do you think someone at the BBC has been watching The Last Leg on Channel 4?

Did I get away with not sounding too knowledgeable but also not too clueless? I hope so.

Also today: Lee Mack, Ruby Wax and Dave Myers comprise the panel for this week’s Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Piers Morgan interviews Tony Blackburn (ITV, 9:00pm); Peter Kay: Live & Back on Nights (which was originally released on DVD in order to trick fans into buying it, thinking that they were getting new material but in fact it was just a behind-the-scenes documentary which everyone, including Peter himself, knew would be on Channel 4 within a year or so anyway) is at 9:00pm; Alex Brooker is welcomed back to the aforementioned The Last Leg after finishing his presenting duties on The Jump (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Lee Mack’s new panel show, Duck Quacks Don’t Echo (Sky1, 10:00pm); and Gary Oldman and Nick Frost are 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 –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Splash! – Thanks to Tony Ward, ©ITV/Twofour; A Tribute to Roger Lloyd-Pack – ©BBC; Births, Deaths and Marriages – Thanks to ITV, ©Wall to Wall; Inside No. 9 – Thanks to Richard Ansett, ©BBC; The Big Reunion – ©ITV; Alan Davies: Après Ski – Thanks to BBC and So Television, ©Tony Briggs.

This Week in TV – 25th – 31st January

Following on from a week that saw the National Television Awards bring victory for Ant & Dec, Corrie and Doctor Who – but also possibly a diminishment in I Can’t Sing!’s ticket sales – here’s what we have to look forward to over the next seven days.

Saturday 25th January

Celebrity Big Brother

Channel 5, 9:30pm'Celebrity Big Brother' - Channel 5, 9:30pm

The final is looming, and tonight we will see the repercussions of Linda’s eviction. 

She may have felt the wrath and been bombarded by the boos of the public but I was quite surprised that Linda Nolan (pictured) was evicted from the Celebrity Big Brother house last night. Yes, she was interfering, a nit-picker, bitchy and perhaps should have let sleeping dogs lie sometimes but I suppose I did sort of like her. But then maybe that’s just because she’s a Nolan. And I can’t bring myself to hate a Nolan.

Anyway, so, who do I think will win? Well if I had to predict the top three (I don’t, but I will anyway), I’d have to go for:

FIRST – Ollie

SECOND – Sam

THIRD – Jim

I would never have placed Jim even in the final at the beginning of the series but I do believe that, despite his questionable opinions and past routines, he’s come across well during this series. Well, sometimes he has anyway. It’s often the case that the quiet ones shine in the end, though, so that’s why I’ve placed Ollie and Sam in the top two. Whether that will be the case on the night, however, remains to be seen.

Also today: Jenny Eclair, Austin Healy and Una Foden are just some of the stars appearing in Splash! (ITV, 6:45pm); and Robert Lindsay, Rufus Hound, Tinie Tempah, Seann Walsh and Sam Bailey pull up a pew for The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:30pm).

Sunday 26th January

The Jump

Channel 4, 8:00pm

Bearing in mind the money that has been invested in it, it’s little surprise that Channel 4 is really plugging new reality series, The Jump. And so they should too because, actually, it looks really  rather good.

Davina McCall and The Last Leg’s Alex Brooker are at'The Jump' - Channel 4, 8:00pm the helm of this show, which sees celebrities trained in Winter Olympic disciplines – from Skeleton to Bobsleigh, speed skating to slalom and, of course, the dreaded ski jump. However, the competitors will only have to face the eponymous jump if they find themselves in the bottom two as a result of their performance in that day’s challenge. So that’s quite an incentive to do well!

Taking part over the next eight nights will be: Richie Neville, Nicky Clarke, Marcus Brigstocke, Melinda Messenger, Sir Steve Redgrave, Sinitta, Laura Hamilton, Amy Childs, Anthea Turner, Darren Gough, Kimberley Wyatt, and Henry Conway. They will be trained by Olympians, Graham Bell, Amy Williams and the legend that is Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards. Should be fun!

Also today: 2012 film Mirror Mirror (Channel 4, 6:00pm); the remaining nine battle it out in Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6:15pm); Brian McFadden, Diane Parish and their families are on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); Dragon’s Den returns (BBC2, 9:00pm); and there’s one last Celebrity Big Brother Eviction ahead of Wednesday’s final (Channel 5, 9:00pm).

Monday 27th January

Britain’s Great War 

BBC1, 9:00pm

Beginning the BBC’s ambitious four year project to mark the centenary of World War One, Britain’s'Britain's Great War' - BBC1, 9:00pm Great War sees Jeremy Paxman (clean-shaven at the time of filming) explore how the War helped shape modern Britain.

This first episode begins by looking at the early stages of the War, from the incredulity of the nation to the mass recruitment of soldiers. Jeremy tells of the fear that gripped the nation, as spies were suspected to be everywhere and people lived in constant terror of their homes being attacked – which of course began to happen before long.

Jeremy also meets a 105-year-old eyewitness to the bombing of Hartlepool as she reveals what she thought and felt at that moment.

Also today: Daytime series Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (BBC1, 4:30pm) and Coach Trip (Channel 4, 5:30pm) return; Police Interceptors (Channel 5, 8:00pm) and Food & Drink (BBC2, 8:30pm) are back; The Many Faces of Dick Emery is on BBC2 at 9:00pm; US sitcom Dads comes to ITV2 (9:30pm); and documentary series Three Wives, One Husband: Married to the Mormons begins on Channel 4 (10:00pm).

Tuesday 28th January

Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

ITV, 8:00pm

Who remembers last year when Chris Tarrant announced that Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was'Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' - ITV, 8:00pm ending? Apparently he and ITV had mutually agreed to finish the show, yet here it still is with the  first of two one-off specials – the second of which will air next Tuesday.

The first celebrity pairs to take to the hotseats are Russell Kane and Gloria Hunniford, Frank Skinner and Adrian Chiles, and Alexandra Burke and David Emanuel (who, incidentally, is opening the newly-refurbished Bonmarché store in Sunderland next Thursday. Just thought I’d mention it).

The charities being represented are: mental health organisation, Rethink; The Caron Keating Foundation; aid agency, CAFOD; Breast Cancer Care; and Macmillan Cancer Care Support.

Also today: Children’s Emergency Rescue (BBC2, 8:00pm); Inside the Animal Mind (BBC2, 9:00pm); and The Zoo Next Door (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 29th January

Outnumbered

BBC1, 9:00pm

Personally, I thought that Outnumbered stopped being funny after the second run but it has proved'Outnumbered' - BBC1, 9:00pm popular enough to still be here for its fifth, and final, series.

As we rejoin the Brockmans, Sue is struggling to juggle her new office job with her home life, Jake is taking driving lessons, (the now very tall) Ben has been cast in the school musical, and Karen has joined secondary school, and clashes with just about everyone – teachers and fellow pupils alike.

It really is interesting to see how, with each series, Daniel Roche (Ben) and Romona Marquez (Karen) have grown up. And how much more handsome Tyger Drew-Honey has become.

Anyway, as it’s the final series, I might tune in. After all, it’s a few years since I last saw the Brockmans and it’ll be nice to catch up.

Also today: The Restaurant Man (BBC2, 8:00pm); and the Celebrity Big Brother Final (Channel 5, 9:00pm).

Thursday 30th January

BodyShockers: My Tattoo Hell 

Channel 4, 10:00pm

In this series, Katie Piper (pictured) meets people who have undergone or are planning to undergo major body  alterations, finding out their motives for and feelings about their'Bodyshockers' - Channel 4, 10:00pm decisions.

The first episode sees the model talk to a variety of people who have had tattoos, but now regret them. Take Grant, who has a tattoo on his eyelid and is about to undergo a painful and high-risk procedure to get it removed using a laser. Then there’s Merlisa, who wants a huge tattoo on her chest removed, and Dominic, who got his boyfriend’s name tattooed on his neck, only for them to break up three days later.

But Katie also meets some people who don’t regret getting tattoos. Matthew is inked from head to toe, with his penis even tattooed bright blue, as a sign of support for Birmingham City. Now that’s dedication!

Also today: One-off documentary Dan Snow’s History of the Winter Olympics (BBC2, 9:00pm); Matthew Kelly (who isn’t the Matthew from BodyShockers, I hasten to add) and Janet Street-Porter guest-star in Benidorm (ITV, 9:00pm); The Truth About Your Dog’s Food (Channel 5, 9:00pm), which needs little explanation; Suits returns (Dave, 9:00pm); and documentary Kids Who Kill (Channel 5, 10:00pm) – yet another programme with a very blunt, self-explanatory title.

Friday 31st January

The Last Leg

Channel 4, 10:00pm

Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker return with their review of the past seven days’ events.

This show has done exceptionally well, it should be noted. Bearing in mind it started out merely as a light-hearted, nightly review of the 2012 Paralympics, it is now a very popular topical series, which has helped boost the profiles of its three presenters, so much so that Adam Hills won Best Comedy Breakthrough Artist at the British Comedy Awards last year and is now the host of Celebrity Fifteen to One, four new episodes of which will air later this year. Josh also released his debut stand-up DVD last year while Alex has fronted his own documentary on body image and is, of course, co-host of The Jump.

As always, the trio will be joined by a different celebrity guest each week and viewers can get involved with their #IsItOk questions. For example, #IsItOk that Justin Bieber is acting like a total dick?

A nice little Last Leg reference for fans of the show there.

Also today: Ice Road Truckers returns (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Michael Ball, Caroline Quentin and Henning Wehn attempt to have their pet hates banished to Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Martin Kemp is on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild begins (Channel 5, 9:00pm); and Julianne Moore, Matthew McConaughey, Sheryl Crow and Alan Davies are 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 –@UKTVReviewer.

Image credits: Celebrity Big Brother – Thanks to Five; The Jump – Thanks to Channel 4 and Todd Antony; Britain at War – Thanks to Dave Williams, ©BBC; Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire? – Thanks to ITV and Victory Television; Outnumbered – Thanks to BBC and Collin Hutton, ©Hat Trick; BodyShockers – Thanks to Channel 4 and Ray Burmiston.

This Week in TV – 18th – 24th January

Yes, it’s time to look forward to the next seven days in TV and, following on from a week that brought us the deaths of DI Poole, comedy legend Roger Lloyd-Pack and the innocence of Frank Carson’s dressing room, here’s what we have to look forward to.

Saturday 18th January

Splash!

ITV, 7:00pm

Reflex, Splash!, The Voice, Take Me Out? With these below-par Saturday night entertainment shows, Ambassador, you are spoiling us.'Splash!' - ITV, 7:00pm

Splash! belly-flops into its third week this week and it appears that the bottom of the barrel is well  and truly being scraped, as the biggest name to be taking to the diving board tonight is musician Paul Young. Wherever he lays his swimming cap, that’s his home.

Just so you know, I hate me for writing that, too.

Joining Paul and hoping to avoid the Splash-Off are: TOWIE star, Dan Osborne; north-eastern comedian, Patrick Monahan; model Danielle Lloyd; and MP Penny Mordaunt, who has caused a bit of a splash by taking part.

Apologies, but that pun was too good to miss. And it was better than the Paul Young one at least.

Also today: Animated favourite Despicable Me (ITV, 5:10pm); the aforementioned The Voice UK (BBC1, 7:00pm); and Goldie Hawn, Russell Brand, Dermot O’Leary and James Blunt chat to Jonathan Ross (ITV, 9:45pm).

Sunday 19th January

The Musketeers

BBC1, 9:00pm

This ten-part period drama, inspired by Alexandre Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, begins tonight.

Set in 17th-century Paris, The Musketeers follows Louis XIII’s personal bodyguards, Athos, Aramis'The Musketeers' - BBC1, 9:00pm and Porthos, who stand for social justice at a time when law and order is an unrealised concept. In this week’s opening episode, the Musketeers must try to rebuild the King’s reputation as well as strive to seek justice for themselves.

The series should also be noted for its stellar cast and crew. As well as being written by Adrian Hodges (the man behind Primeval and the multi-award-winning My Week With Marilyn), The Musketeers stars Tom Burke (The Hour), Santiago Cabrera (Merlin) and Howard Charles (Switch) in the eponymous roles, alongside Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It), Luke Pasqualino (Skins) and Hugo Speer (Father Brown).

Also today: Fake of Fortune? returns (BBC1, 6:00pm); all of the remaining celebs go head-to-head for the first time on Dancing on Ice (ITV, 6:15pm); gay men of Britain, listen up as Birds of a Feather’s Lesley Joseph and comedian Stephen K Amos compete on All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:45pm); period dramas Call the Midwife (BBC1, 8:00pm) and Mr Selfridge (ITV, 9:00pm) are back; and one-off documentary Don’t Look Down (Channel 4, 9:00pm) explores the new craze of urban free-climbing.

Monday 20th January

Russia on Four Wheels 

BBC2, 9:00pm

In this two-part documentary, the conclusion of which is on Wednesday, Anita Rani and Justin Rowlatt take a three week-long trip across Russia in the hope of finding out how far the country has come in the 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall.'Russia on Four Wheels' - BBC2, 9:00pm

Both presenters begin their journeys in the home of this year’s Winter Olympics, Sochi, but then head in different directions as they explore contrasting areas of Russia. Anita will be heading north and west from Sochi, in order to discover ‘new’ Russia, which sees booming business and enthusiastic entrepreneurs. Justin, meanwhile, will be going east into ‘old’ Russia, where he visits factories and farms, finding that some areas have not changed since before the Cold War years.

To make things even more interesting, Anita and Justin are journeying in very different vehicles, with the former in a luxury armoured plated tank and the latter in a battered 1940s jeep. Watch tonight and on Wednesday to see how they get on.

Also today: The Alan Titchmarsh Show enters its 14th series (ITV, 3:00pm), with Mark Benton and Paul Hollywood being the first guests; Tom Dyckhoff (stop sniggering, please) presents The Great Interior Design Challenge (BBC2, 7:00pm); we bid a tearful farewell to Hayley in Coronation Street (ITV, 7:30 & 8:30pm); Food Unwrapped (Channel 4) and Winterwatch (BBC2) return at 8:30pm; much-trailed US sitcom Mom comes to ITV2 (9:00pm); and sci-fi thriller Helix begins (Channel 5, 10:00pm).

Tuesday 21st January

The Naked Rambler 

BBC1, 10:35pm

This one-off documentary focuses on the ever-controversial Stephen Gough, who is notorious for rambling around Scotland wearing only boots and a rucksack – something which sadly landed him in prison for seven years. He spent most of that time naked in solitary confinement.'The Naked Rambler' - BBC1, 10:35pm

Throughout the programme, we follow Stephen as he attempts a four month-long trek home to his family in Hampshire. His journey takes this long owing to the copious amounts of arrests, court appearances and prison stays that he has to deal with along the way.

We also gain an insight into Stephen’s motives for rambling naked, his family’s views and those of the public. The main question that I have is why does he insist on doing it, with his actions having landed him in prison numerous times, and therefore unable to see his teenage sons grow up? I guess that that question and many more will be answered during the programme.

Also today: Documentaries The Search for Alfred the Great (BBC2), Growing Up Down’s (BBC3) and Ross Kemp: Extreme World (Sky1), all at 9:00pm; and Claudia Winkleman is back with Film 2014 (BBC1, 10:35pm).

Wednesday 22nd January

The National Television Awards

ITV, 7:30pm'The National Television Awards' - ITV, 7:30pm

It’s that time of the year again when the cream of the crop of British television are awarded for their  efforts.

As per the last few years, Dermot O’Leary will oversee proceedings and tonight X Factor winner Sam Bailey will open the show. Voting closes at midday today (22nd January), so if you’re reading this before then and haven’t yet registered your vote, do so now here. Make it count, though: you only get one go.

Here are the nominees (with my choices in red) for each category:

Best Talent Show

The Voice UK

Dancing on Ice

The X Factor

Britain’s Got Talent

Strictly Come Dancing

Best Serial Drama

Coronation Street

Emmerdale

EastEnders

Hollyoaks

Best Comedy

Miranda

Mrs Brown’s Boys

Derek

The Big Bang Theory

Best Drama

Broadchurch

Downton Abbey

Call the Midwife

Doctor Who

Best TV Detective

Olivia Colman (Broadchurch)

David Tennant (Broadchurch)

Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock)

Idris Elba (Luther)

Bradley Walsh (Law & Order: UK)

Suranne Jones (Scott & Bailey)

Best Drama Performance

Martin Clunes (Doc Martin)

Miranda Hart (Call the Midwife)

Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey)

Matt Smith (Doctor Who)

Best Factual Entertainment Programme

The Great British Bake Off

An Idiot Abroad

Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs

Top Gear

Best Daytime Programme

This Morning

The Jeremy Kyle Show

Pointless

The Chase

Best Soap Newcomer

Marc Baylis (Coronation Street’s Rob Donovan)

Michelle Hardwick (Emmerdale’s Vanessa Woodfield)

Khali Best (EastEnders’ Dexter Hartman)

Anna Passey (Hollyoaks’ Sienna Blake)

Best Serial Drama Performance

Julie Hesmondhalgh (Coronation Street’s Hayley Cropper)

David Neilson (Coronation Street’s Roy Cropper)

Michelle Keegan (Coronation Street’s Tina McIntyre)

Jessie Wallace (EastEnders’ Kat Moon)

Best Documentary

Inside Death Row With Trevor McDonald

Paul O’Grady’s Working Britain

Penguins – Spy in the Huddle

Educating Yorkshire

Best Entertainment Presenter

Alan Carr

Keith Lemon

Ant & Dec

Graham Norton

Dermot O’Leary

Best Entertainment Programme

I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Celebrity Juice

The Graham Norton Show

 

I have to be honest, I’d have liked to have seen more digital TV channels get the nod (Mount Pleasant, Stella, Trollied, for example) but overall there are some brilliant nominees there. Tune in tonight to find out who’ll be picking up the awards!

Also today: Grammar Schools: A Secret History (BBC4, 8:00pm); Crimewatch (BBC1, 9:00pm); Embarrassing Bodies Down Under – presumably a reference to Australia, not which specific area of the bodies are embarrassing… (More 4, 10:00pm); and Seamus Heaney: Out of the Marvellous (BBC4, 11:00pm) – a tribute to the late poet, previously shown on RTÉ.

Thursday 23rd January

Benidorm 

ITV, 9:00pm

For its first two series, Benidorm was fantastic. It was the traditional 30 minutes in length and'Benidorm' - ITV, 9:00pm provided consistent laughs. And then each episode was made an hour-long in 2010, and it very much went downhill. It was dragged-out, ridiculous and boring. Thankfully, though, the fifth and current sixth series have marked a return to form for the show and it is once again bringing hilarity and sunshine to our cold, dark January evenings.

It also helps that new cast member Danny Walters (pictured) is quite easy on the eye.

This week, Joyce sets up a volleyball match at the Solana, Michael and Tiger are up to their old tricks again and Clive and Tonya try their hand at karaoke.

Also today: Restoration Home One Year On (BBC2, 8:00pm); Lorraine Pascale and Jason Atherton present new culinary series My Kitchen Rules (Sky Living, 9:00pm); and The Midnight Beast returns (E4, 10:00pm).

Friday 24th January

Stella 

Sky1, 9:00pm

Ruth Jones’s (or should I say Ruth Jones, MBE’s?) gentle comedy-drama about a single mother in the Welsh valleys is back for a third series.'Stella' - Sky1, 9:00pm

People always say that you’d never believe that Fletcher and Arkwright were both played by Ronnie  Barker. Or that Del Boy and Granville were both David Jason. May I just add to that, though, that if you saw them side-by-side, you’d never believe that Vanessa Shanessa Jenkins and Stella Morris were both played by Ruth Jones. She’s much more of a versatile actress than people give her credit for – and it’s for that reason that I’m overjoyed that she has been honoured with an MBE.

If you’ve never seen Stella before, let me fill you in: if focuses on the eponymous Welshwoman and the trials and tribulations that she encounters in her everyday life, usually influenced by her extended family and friends. In the past we’ve seen her deal with her son’s imprisonment and subsequent emigration with his father, her daughter’s pregnancy and marriage at just 18, the disappearance of her brother and the death of her beloved – but unintelligible – father, only for him to resurrect at the funeral.

Tonight, as we rejoin the Morrises, the Morgans and the Koshes, Stella is sporting a new hairdo and is putting all of her efforts into her nursing degree – but the arrival of a handsome and newly-single lawyer may distract her. Elsewhere, Aunty Brenda’s wayward daughter shows up, and Big Alan is told to put Little Alan on a diet.

Also today: Richard Osman, Roisin Conaty and Joan Bakewell try to put their pet hates into Room 101 (BBC1, 8:30pm); Beverley Callard gets a grilling on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (ITV, 9:00pm); Dara Ó Briain and Sharon Horgan are on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm); there’s a compilation of the best bits of the most recent series of QI (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Graham Norton welcomes Keira Knightley, Kenneth Branagh, Katy B, Thierry Henry (yes, it rhymes) and Lee Mack onto his show at 10:35pm on BBC1.

If may be worth noting that some of your TV guides might say that the Celebrity Big Brother Final is on tonight on Channel 5. The series has been extended, and will now finish next Wednesday (29th January).

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: Splash! – Thanks to Matt Frost, ©ITV; The Musketeers – Thanks to Steve Neaves, ©BBC; Russia on Four Wheels – Thanks to BBC, ©Simon Phillips; The Naked Rambler – Thanks to BBC, ©Oblong Films; The National Television Awards – ©ITV; Benidorm – Thanks to ITV, ©Tiger Aspect; Stella – Thanks to Sky, ©www.andyshortphotography.co.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.

This Week in TV – 4th – 10th January

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

Nan

BBC1, 9:30pm

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.'Nan' - BBC1, 9:30pm

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

ITV, 6:15pm

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,'Dancing on Ice' - ITV, 6:15pm 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

The 7.39

BBC1, 9:00pm

New star-studded drama series The 7.39 encapsulates the monotony of the daily morning commute'The 7.39' - BBC1, 9:00pm 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?

Concludes tomorrow.

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

ITV, 8:00pm

I love living in, and am very proud to be from, Sunderland. I think that it’s a brilliantly diverse city'Weight Loss Ward' - ITV, 8:00pm 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'This is Jinsy' - Sky Atlantic, 10:00pm 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

The Undateables

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Well this is unfortunate. Having said all that about Sunderland being badly represented in'The Undateables' - Channel 4, 9:00pm 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

ITV, 9:00pm

In last week’s Life Stories, Piers interviewed EastEnders legend June Brown – whose autobiography came out last year.'Piers Morgan's Life Stories' - ITV, 9:00pm

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

This Christmas in TV – 21st December 2013 – 3rd January 2014

I don’t know about you, but I often find that the Christmas schedules are filled with great comedies, dramas and family shows up until about 27th December – and then it all dies down. We just get whatever’s left over. It’s like going to the tin of Quality Street a few days after Christmas and having to make do with the toffee pennies that get stuck in your teeth for four hours.

This year, though, I think it’s different. There are some great shows spread across the festive fortnight and I think there’s only one day in the whole of that time that I’ve been hard pushed to find something that I can write a few paragraphs about. Let’s see what you think, though. Here’s what we all have to look forward to on the telly this Christmas…

Saturday 21st December

The Illusionists

ITV, 9:10pm

Dynamo, Ben Earl, Tricked, Derren Brown… There seems to be a particular demand in this country  at the minute for magicians and illusionists. I don’t quite'The Illusionists' - ITV, 9:10pm know why, but suddenly TV channels are crying out for performers and their tricks – the riskier the better. And that’s handy, because this show features a lot of ‘risky’ stunts.

As part of their sell-out world tour, a team of six illusionists arrive at the Hammersmith Apollo and, with Stephen Mulhern overseeing proceedings, perform some large-scale illusions, death-defying stunts and comedy magic for a star-studded audience.

As you can imagine, there are some pretty impressive tricks in here – never to be tried at home, of course. Well, unless you happen to own a large transparent water tank and handcuffs – in which case, that’s your own affair.

Also today: Liz McClarnon, Sherrie Hewson, Russell Grant and Des O’Connor compete in The Chase: Celebrity Special (ITV, 5:30pm); the winner of Strictly Come Dancing 2013 is announced (BBC1, 6:30pm & 8:40pm); ITV’s Harry Potter series continues with The Order of the Phoenix (6:30pm); Caroline Flack and Matt Richardson narrate The X Factor Winner’s Story (ITV2, 8:00pm); and BBC2 finishes its The Wrong Mans re-run with the final three episodes from 11:30pm.

The only new Christmas special today is Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 5:40pm), which features the Chuckle Brothers, Keith Harris and Orville, Linda Lusardi and Sam Kane, and Roy Wood and Santa Claus himself!

Sunday 22nd December

The Sarah Millican Television Programme

BBC2, 10:00pm

The South Shields-born comedienne returns with a Christmas special of her fabulous chat/stand-up'The Sarah Millican Television Programme' - BBC2, 10:00pm show.

Sarah’s had a brilliant year: two series of her show have been made and broadcast, she was nominated for two British Comedy Awards last week and has gone off on her third tour, Home Bird. And now she’s topping it off with this Christmas special, which sees her chat to Call the Midwife stars Judy Parfitt (Sister Monica Joan) and Helen George (Trixie), as well as her teenage crush (her bedroom walls were plastered with posters): Phillip Schofield.

If you’re a fan of The Sarah Millican Television Programme, it might not be too late to ask for the best of series one and two on DVD for Christmas! Click here to find out how to order it.

Hebburn

BBC2, 10:30pm

Yes, I couldn’t resist writing about both of BBC2’s north-eastern, Christmas comedy specials.

Now, I have a confession to make. I watched all of the first series of Hebburn last year, and actually wasn’t as impressed by it as I made out. Everyone seemed to love it, though, so I just went along'Hebburn' - BBC2, 10:30pm with the hype, despite just finding it a quite funny, likeable show. The fact that I only live about twenty minutes away from Hebburn itself probably helped. I genuinely have loved this series, though – this and Last Tango in Halifax have helped bring gentle humour and pathos to Tuesday nights. And Jim Moir and Patt Dunn are simply brilliant together as Joe and his mum, Dot.

In this Christmas special, and the last episode in the series, Sarah and Jack return to Hebburn from Switzerland, just in time for Christmas Eve. However, Sarah’s mum, dad and nan have also turned up, and the latter begins immediately sparring with Jack’s gran, Dot. Plus, a theft means that the families – Jack’s and Sarah’s – must stay in the house, which leads to unlikely friendships being formed and more than a few enemies being made.

Also today: Big Sing: The UK’s Top 10 Carols (BBC1, 4:35pm); The Muppets and Lady Gaga at Christmas (Channel 5, 5:25pm); the obligatory showing of The Snowman (Channel 4, 6:25pm); Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (Channel 4, 6:55pm); The Fir Tree (BBC4, 8:30pm) tells the story of the journey of the Christmas tree; there’s one-off drama The Whale (BBC1, 9:00pm), about the apparent inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick; Matt Edmondson presents Utterly Outrageous Reality TV Moments 2013 (ITV2, 10:00pm); and, with his musical Stephen Ward having recently opened in the West End, Andrew Lloyd Webber explores the Porfumo Affair in Sex, Lies and a Very British Scapegoat (BBC1, 10:30pm).

Monday 23rd December

John Bishop’s Christmas Show

BBC1, 9:00pm

Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop will be joined by a host of celebrity guests for a night of festive'John Bishop's Christmas Show' - BBC1, 9:00pm fun.

Fresh from his stint as host of the Royal Variety Performance, and filmed at London’s Lyceum Theatre, John will welcome comedians including Nina Conti, Tim Vine, Lee Nelson, David O’Doherty and Jason Manford to perform sets, as well as delivering a few routines himself.

So join John and some of his favourite comics for a night of festive laughs as he brings his witty observations and hilarious anecdotes to the audience both in the theatre and at home.

Also today: BBC1’s three days of Toy Story starts at 3:15pm; a new series of Celebrity Mastermind begins (BBC1, 7:00pm); Gary Barlow: Journey to Afghanistan (ITV, 9:00pm) sees the X Factor judge perform for the troops at Camp Bastion; Most Shocking Celebrity Moments 2013 (Channel 5, 9:00pm); the third series of Fresh Meat comes to an end (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and Caitlin Moran’s sitcom pilot Raised by Wolves is on Channel 4 at 10:50pm.

Christmas specials include: A Question of Sport (BBC1, 7:30pm); The Gadget Show (Channel 5, 8:00pm); Would I Lie to You? (BBC1, 8:30pm); Peter Andre: My Life (ITV2, 9:00pm); and Bluestone 42 (BBC3, 10:00pm), which sees Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis join the cast.

Christmas Eve

The IT Crowd Night

Channel 4, 9:00pm

Channel 4 has dedicated a whole night to celebrating one of its most successful sitcoms of the century: The IT Crowd.

The evening begins with a repeat of September’s unofficial'The IT Crowd' Night - Channel 4, 9:00pm finale to the series, The Internet is  Coming at 9:00pm and then continues with The IT Crowd Manual at 10:00pm – a special documentary narrated by Stephen Mangan and featuring classic clips from the series. The show’s stars, Chris O’Dowd, Katherine Parkinson, Richard Ayoade, Matt Berry and Noel Fielding, and its creator, Graham Linehan, will also be revealing some behind-the-scenes secrets.

Then, there’ll be The Fans’ Favourite Episode (you can vote here) and, rounding it off, The Writer’s Favourite Episode. I’ve already cast my vote for the best episode: The Work Outing, in which the trio go to see – as Roy puts it – ‘a gay musical called Gay’. As with the best IT Crowd episodes, it has a complex plot and some fantastic one-liners. All of them are great though – it should be interesting to find out which one will be voted top.

Also today: It’s a Wonderful Life (Channel 4, 1:10pm); Toy Story 2 (BBC1, 3:40pm); a repeat of heartwarming drama Fast Freddie, the Widow and Me (ITV, 3:45pm); The Nation’s Favourite Christmas Song (ITV, 5:15pm); Carols From King’s (BBC2, 6:15pm); festive animations Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas (Channel 4, 7:05pm) and The Snowman and the Snowdog (Channel 4, 7:30pm); Midsomer Murders (ITV, 8:00pm); the marvellous Last Tango in Halifax finishes its second series (BBC1, 9:00pm); Greatest Ever Christmas Movies (Channel 5, 9:10pm); and BBC2 celebrates the late Mel Smith in I’ve Sort of Done Things (9:45pm) and Comedy Connections (10:45pm).

Christmas specials include: Trollied (Sky1 HD, 9:00pm); Not Going Out (BBC1, 10:00pm); and last year’s Outnumbered (BBC1, 10:45pm).

Christmas Day

Downton Abbey

ITV, 8:30pm

As you can imagine, there was a lot of deliberation over which show to write about today. I have, of course, chosen Downton, though. And just like last year’s, the two hour-long episode is rather  disappointingly set in the summer.

As part of Rose’s ‘coming out’ (not in a Tom Daley way: in'Downton Abbey' - ITV, 8:30pm a ‘coming of age’ way), the Crawleys and Granthams travel to London for her debutante ball at Buckingham Palace. However, not one to miss out on a party, Cora’s mother, the outspoken Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine), and her son, the equally outspoken and morally questionable Harold, are also in tow, and make quite an impression amongst London’s high society.

Elsewhere, Carson treats the downstairs staff to a rare day out and the Crawleys become embroiled in a huge scandal which threatens to besmirch the names of the Granthams and the Royal Family, so Robert has to do all he can in order to keep the controversy at bay.

Also today: Fearne Cotton and Reggie Yates host Top of the Pops Christmas (BBC1, 2:00pm); Toy Story 3 (BBC1, 3:20pm); Bear Gryll’s Wild Weekend With Stephen Fry (Channel 4, 8:30pm); the TV premiere of Michael Jackson’s This is It (Channel 5, 9:30pm); Michael McIntyre‘s 2012 stand-up show, Showtime (BBC1, 10:05pm); and Love, Actually (ITV, 10:45pm).

And there aren’t many Christmas specials – just Strictly (BBC1, 5:00pm); Paul O’Grady’s For the Love of Dogs (ITV, 5:15pm); Call the Midwife (BBC1, 6:15pm); Emmerdale (ITV, 6:15pm); Doctor Who (BBC1, 7:30pm); Coronation Street (ITV, 7:30pm); Christmas Night With the Two Ronnies (BBC2, 7:40pm); EastEnders (BBC1, 8:30pm); Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1, 9:30pm); Chatty Man (Channel 4, 9:30pm); Man Down (Channel 4, 10:35pm); and the infamous lingerie department episode of Father Ted (Channel 4, 11:05pm). Like I said, not many specials…

Boxing Day

Gangsta Granny

BBC1, 6:05pm

Following the success of Mr Stink last year, the BBC has this year commissioned another TV'Gangsta Granny' - BBC1, 6:05pm adaptation of one of David Walliams’s bestselling children’s novels.

Gangsta Granny tells the story of eleven-year-old Ben, who loathes having to stay with his granny every Friday night when his Strictly-mad parents go to see a dancing show. He hates her company: she feeds him cabbage, subjects him to games of Scrabble and her telly doesn’t work. However, one night his granny discloses the she is an international jewel thief, known as The Black Cat – and suddenly staying with her is not such a bad prospect…

As well as David himself, Gangsta Granny stars Julia McKenzie, Miranda Hart, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon, Robbie Williams and Jocelyn Jee Esien, along with newcomer Reece Buttery as Ben.

Also today: The Wizard of Oz (Channel 5, 5:15pm); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I premieres (ITV, 7:15pm); the much-anticipated Still Open All Hours (BBC1, 7:45pm); Death Comes to Pemberley (BBC1) and Idris Elba: King of Speed (BBC2) begin at 8:15pm; Channel 4 make a risky move in inviting Jack Whitehall onto The Big Fat Quiz of the Year again (Channel 4, 9:00pm), following his headline-making appearance last year; Len Goodman’s Perfect Christmas (BBC1, 9:15pm); Ben & James Versus The Arabian Desert (BBC2, 9:15pm); and I am Britney Jean: Britney Spears in Las Vegas (ITV, 10:05pm) sees the performer begin her two year residency in Vegas.

Friday 27th December

Open All Hours: A Celebration

BBC1, 1:20pm

When the new Open All Hours episode was announced in October, I felt compelled to write an'Open All Hours: A Celebration' - BBC1, 1:20pm article on this blog. I really didn’t like the idea. Sitcom revivals are always risky anyway – and that’s without the protagonist being dead! I just didn’t think that it was plausible that Granville would carry on running the shop once his uncle died and he had the chance to escape. The fact is, though, it’s happening. And I’ve sort of got used to the idea – and even begun to look forward to the new episode!

This thirty minutes-long documentary features interviews with Open All Hours stars Sir David Jason and Lynda Barron, as well as its creator, Roy Clarke, about why they think that, forty years after it debuted, the corner shop sitcom is still hugely popular. We also go behind-the-scenes of the new episode, taking a look at the preparations and anticipation surrounding it.

I just hope that Still Open All Hours is good. Actually, I hope that it’s more than good! I hope it’s excellent! The BBC clearly seem to think it is anyway: rumour has it a brand new series is in the pipeline!

Also today: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Channel 5, 4:10pm); the second episode of Death Comes to Pemberley (BBC1, 9:00pm); the Christmas special of Vicious (ITV, 9:00pm); The Inbetweeners Movie (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Slapstick Comedy Night on Channel 5 begins at 9:00pm with Mr Bean and continues at 10:00pm with Tommy Cooper’s Christmas; a New Year’s special of The Spa (Sky Living, 9:00pm); and Queer as Pop: From the Gay Scene to the Mainstream (Channel 4, 10:55pm) tells of how the liberation of gay men has influenced pop music over the past four decades.

Saturday 28th December

Death Comes to Pemberley

BBC1, 9:00pm

I’ve mentioned it for the past couple of days but now I’m writing about it for the final episode: Death'Death Comes to Pemberley' - BBC1, 9:00pm Comes to Pemberley is a gripping drama, adapted from PD James’s bestselling novel based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

At a party at Elizabeth and Darcy’s home in Pemberley, Elizabeth’s brother-in-law Wickham is murdered. Darcy immediately springs into action, launching a search party in the woods, where they find a bloodied corpse. However, the body is not that of Wickham, but of his travelling companion. All that the Darcys hold dear is immediately thrown into jeopardy as they become embroiled in the web of lies and deceit of the ensuing murder investigation.

The three-part series (the conclusion of which is tonight) stars Anna Maxwell-Martin, Matthew Rhys and Matthew Goode.

Also today: An 80s special of Pointless Celebrities (BBC1, 6:00pm); Kate Garraway and former I’m a Celebrity… stars Rebecca Adlington and Rosemary Shrager are on the last Chase: Celebrity Special of the series (ITV, 6:00pm); the finale of Atlantis (BBC1, 8:15pm); 50 Funniest Moments 2013 (Channel 4, 9:00pm); the penultimate Mad Dogs (Sky 1 HD, 9:00pm); and Charlie Brooker’s 2013 Wipe (BBC2, 10:40pm).

Christmas specials include: All Star Family Fortunes (ITV, 7:00pm), which sees Team Corrie go up against Team Dancing on Ice; The Cube Celebrity Special (ITV, 8:00pm), featuring Sherrie Hewson, Denise Welch, Lisa Maxwell and Greg Rutherford (who has never been a Loose Woman, to my knowledge); and The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV, 9:00pm), with John Bishop, Jamie Oliver, Ray Winstone, Susan Boyle and David Attenborough.

Sunday 29th December

Marple

ITV, 8:00pm

Despite the fact that it is apparently haunted, Miss Marple’s new acquaintance, the recently widowed Mike Rogers, dreams of building a new home on Gypsy Acre. However, he also has'Marple' - ITV, 8:00pm another aspiration: to woo American heiress Ellie Goldman. When he succeeds and they plan to marry, they also set about building his aforementioned dream home – but they have to contend with the threats of local gypsy, Mrs Lee.

Once the house is built and all seems fine, tragedy suddenly strikes as Ellie dies after being thrown from her horse. When two subsequent murders occur, Miss Marple has to step in and try to get to the bottom of Gyspy’s Acre.

The question is, will she be able to?

Also today: The last in the series of Sunday Side Up (ITV, 10:30am) and Sunday Scoop (ITV, 11:30am); Speed With Guy Martin begins (Channel 4, 8:00pm); the last-ever Mad Dogs (Sky 1 HD, 9:00pm); An Audience With Bruce Forsyth, from 1997, is on Channel 5 at 9:00pm, followed by Bruce Forsyth’s Comedy Heroes at 10:05pm; and 2013: Moments in Time (BBC2, 10:30pm) and Mashed (Channel 4, 11:05pm) both take a look back at the year just gone.

Christmas specials include: The recently-axed That Puppet Gameshow (BBC1, 3:20pm); Catchphrase (ITV, 7:00pm); 8 Out of 10 Cats (Channel 4, 9:00pm); and Rude Tube (Channel 4, 10:05pm).

Monday 30th December

The Thirteenth Tale

BBC2, 9:30pm

Vanessa Redgrave and Olivia Colman star in this one-off drama based on Diane Setterfield’s novel of'The Thirteenth Tale' - BBC2, 9:30pm the same name.

When young biographer Margaret Lea visits legendary writer Vida Winter to interview her, previously undisclosed secrets are divulged. Due to the revelations of her childhood and dark past, a strong empathy is formed between Vida and her biographer, who is persuaded to confront her own skeletons in the closet.

Prepare for a dark and thrilling psychological mystery, perfect for seeing out 2013!

Also today: Family favourites The Railway Children (ITV, 11:25am) and Mary Poppins (BBC1, 4:15pm); Gok Does Panto (Channel 4, 7:05pm) goes behind-the-scenes of the fashion stylist’s stage debut at the Birmingham Hippodrome; Neil Oliver’s The Sacred Wonders of Britain begins (BBC2, 8:30pm); Agnes takes in a homeless parrot in Mrs Brown’s Boys (BBC1, 9:30pm); Jack Dee presents Twit of the Year (Channel 4, 10:00pm); Rik Edwards hosts the Made in Chelsea end of series party (E4, 10:00pm); and there’s a chance to see Jesus Christ Superstar, starring Mel C, Tim Minchin, Chris Moyles and Superstar winner, Ben Forster (Channel 5, 11:35pm).

New Year’s Eve

Two Doors Down

BBC2, 9:00pm

Starring a cast of comedy actors, including Arabella Weir, Doon Mackichan and Greg McHugh, one-'Two Doors Down' - BBC1, 9:00pm off comedy-drama Two Doors Down shows the goings-on at a New Year’s Eve party thrown by Scottish couple Eric and Beth Baird.

The party is attended by the Bairds’ erratic and often mischievous family, friends and neighbours and, as the night goes on, the drinks flow and the countdown to midnight begins in true Scottish style, the laughs become more frequent – but ructions seem increasingly likely.

Also today: Some of this year’s chart-toppers perform on Top of the Pops New Year (BBC1, 5:30pm); ITV has Mamma Mia! (8:00pm); Alan Carr presents his annual New Year Specstacular (Channel 4, 9:00pm); Channel 5 counts down the Greatest Stand-Up Comedians (9:00pm); Jason Manford presents A Funny Old Year (ITV, 10:15pm); and midnight is counted down to in Gary Barlow’s Big Ben Bash (BBC1, 11:15pm) and Jools Holland’s Hootenanny (BBC2, 11:30pm).

Specials today include: Christmas episodes of Deal or no Deal (Channel 4, 7:00pm), Tudor Monastery Farm (BBC2, 9:00pm) and Mock the Week (BBC2, 10:00pm); and a New Year’s Eve special of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:15pm), with Frank Skinner, Michael Buble, Joan and Jackie Collins, the Pythons and the stars of Anchorman 2.

New Year’s Day

Sherlock

BBC1, 9:00pm

Fans have been waiting two years for it but it’s finally here: the third series of Sherlock.'Sherlock' - BBC1, 9:00pm

As you can imagine, the BBC are giving very little away at the moment. We know, of course, that Sherlock will return – and that return will come as he is needed when London faces a terror attack. However, with Watson having moved on after two years without Holmes, and facing a safe future of domesticity, is he going to immediately aid him in saving the capital?

Well I think it’d make for an arduous ninety minutes if he didn’t…

Fans of the series may also like to note that a mini-episode in build-up to the third series will be available on Christmas Day. I’m not quite sure where or what time but it will be on Christmas Day. So look out for that!

Also today: The Sound of Music (BBC1, 2:15pm); Gnomeo and Juliet (BBC1, 6:45pm); the final Harry Potter film gets its TV premiere (ITV, 8:00pm); and David Blaine presents tricks for some big names in Real or Magic (Channel 4, 9:00pm).

Wednesday 2nd January

Birds of a Feather

ITV, 8:30pm

I genuinely cannot express the extent of my excitement about the return of Birds of a Feather. Unlike Open All Hours, this is a sitcom revival which I was ecstatic about from the start.'Birds of a Feather' - ITV, 8:30pm

That’s right, I’m a seventeen-year-old Birds of a Feather fanatic. And male. Nothing wrong with that!

Following the hit stage adaptation of the series, and rejection by the BBC, ITV decided to snap up Birds for a tenth series – the first to be broadcast on the network. I’m not particularly worried about this series of Birds not being up to scratch: the live tour was a sell-out and the creators, Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, have come back to write a lot of the eight episodes, so everything should be fine.

So, what’s happening in the first episode? Well, in ‘Gimme Shelter’, we find Sharon living back in her council flat in Edmonton while Tracey is still in Chigwell with Travis (played by Charlie Quirke, son of Pauline) – but Dorien is nowhere to be seen. Where on earth could she have got to..? Well, it’s likely something to do with sex, isn’t it?

Also today: This Morning and Loose Women return (ITV, 10:30am and 12:30pm); Channel 5 makes us all feel a bit better about eating one too many chocolates by dedicating a whole night to Obesity and Diet from 7:00pm; The Restoration Man is back (Channel 4, 8:00pm); Dolphins: Spy in the Pod begins (BBC1, 8:00pm); Silent Witness starts a new series (BBC1, 9:00pm); we arrive at the Solana again for more Benidorm (ITV, 9:00pm); Michael Grade’s Stars of Musical Theatre is on BBC4 at 9:45pm; there’s a Christmas special (yes, a Christmas special!) of Rab C Nesbitt (BBC2, 10:00pm); and Matt Edmondson has more Fake Reaction (10:00pm).

Friday 3rd January

Celebrity Big Brother

Channel 5, 9:00pm

Yes, it seems not two minutes since Geordie Shore star and Sunderland ladette (although if'Celebrity Big Brother' - Channel 5, 9:00pm Newcastle want to claim her as theirs that’s fine by us…) was named Celebrity Big Brother champion for summer 2013 but now a new batch of vaguely recognisable faces are about to enter the house.

Obviously, no names have been released yet but rumours are rife, with Katies Hopkins and Price being the most prominent. However, other celebrities being linked with the series so far are Jim Davidson (although his name has been bandied about for the past two series) and Nancy Dell’Ollio.

Whoever goes into the house, though, it’s sure to be another cracker of a series.

Also today: A return for The Martin Lewis Money Show (ITV, 8:00pm), Robson’s Extreme Fishing Challenge (Channel 5, 8:00pm), James May’s Toy Stories (BBC1, 9:00pm), Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, with June Brown (ITV, 9:00pm), and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown (Channel 4, 9:00pm). There’s also a new Rude Tube (Channel 4, 10:00pm); and highlights of the most recent, star-studded series of The Graham Norton Show (BBC1, 10:35pm).

So, there we are: that’s what’s coming up on your tellyboxes over Christmas and New Year. 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 Illusionists – Thanks to ITV, ©Wizard TV; The Sarah Millican Television Programme – Thanks to BBC, ©So Television; Hebburn – Thanks to BBC and Matt Squire, ©Baby Cow Manchester/Channel X North; John Bishop’s Christmas Show – Thanks to BBC, ©Lola Entertainment; The IT Crowd Night – Thanks to Channel 4, Pete Dodds and Talkback Thames; Downton Abbey – ©ITV; Gangsta Granny – Thanks to BBC and Gary Moyes, ©BBC; Open All Hours: A Celebration – Thanks to BBC and Gary Moyes, ©BBC; Death Comes to Pemberley – Thanks to BBC, Origin Pictures and Robert Viglasky, ©Origin Pictures; Marple – Thanks to ITV and Neil Genaver, ©ITV; The Thirteenth Tale – Thanks to BBC, Dayday Films and Laurence Cendrowicz, ©Dayday Films; Two Doors Down – Thanks to BBC and Mark Mainz, ©BBC; Sherlock – Thanks to BBC, Hartswood Films and Robert Viglasky, ©Hartswood Films; Birds of a Feather – ©ITV/Retort/QuirkyMedia Stuff; Celebrity Big Brother – Thanks to Five.