TV choices: What's on TV this week?
PUBLISHED: 00:45 25 November 2017
TV highlights from November 25 to December 1
Saturday November 25
Witness: A Frozen Death, BBC4, 9pm: Nothing says ‘welcome to the weekend’ like the grim discovery of 15 frozen bodies sitting on board an abandoned bus. It also brings to mind my winter trips to school on a coach where the heating system involved you wearing another coat. This new French mystery drama starts with a double-bill as the police realise there’s a link between the 15 dead men and a woman called Catherine Keemer who disappeared three years earlier.
Sunday November 26
Guy Martin vs the Robot Car, Channel 4, 9pm: There’s about to be a full-scale robot takeover (cue music from War of the Worlds) and there’s nothing we can do about it. Although I do, in part, refer to the end of humanity as we know it and the replacement of 99 per cent of us with far more efficient robots – happy days! – I specifically refer to the robot domination of the Channel 4 schedules this week. The season begins on Sunday with Guy Martin vs the Robot Car, which looks at the changing the world of automobiles and sees petrolhead Guy trying to get to grips with autonomous vehicles by building his own robotic Ford Transit.
Monday November 27
Paul Hollywood: A Baker’s Life, Channel 4, 8pm: Flushed with triumph after delivering the biggest audience figures for Channel 4 for 32 years (it was beaten by A Woman of Substance in 1985 – who knew?) Paul Hollywood is swiftly back on air with his own show. Master baker (careful) Paul began working at his father’s bakery as a teenager and then went to work as head baker at a number of top hotels and restaurants throughout the UK and Cyprus. In this new series, Hollywood prepares to impart some of his pastry knowledge - as well as, giving this series a rather unique twist, integrating some previously unseen footage from the Bake Off tent and even the auditions phase.
Chinese Burn, BBC3: The latest entry in the channel’s Comedy Slices season aims to shatter every Chinese stereotype you care to mention. It focuses on three young women - Jackie, the feisty struggling actress, Fufu the Buddhist princess and Elizabeth, the failed Chinese daughter. This pilot for a proposed series follows what happened when the wealthy Fufu visits Britain for the first time. She wants to catch up with her friend Elizabeth, but as she has been lying about her status to those back home, she has to tell more porkie pies to cover her back, and takes to the demon drink too. Meanwhile, Jackie has an audition for the role of a lifetime - one that does not require her to pretend she’s a prostitute, DVD seller or takeaway worker. Sadly, helping to babysit Fufu doesn’t help her preparation.
Tuesday November 28
How to Spend It Well at Christmas with Phillip Schofield, ITV, 8pm: So many times at this stressful time of year I find myself thinking: “What would Phillip Schofield do?” And now, dear reader, we can all find out. ITV has essentially applied an elastic principal to what should really be a five minute segment on This Morning, but which has been stretched over three (three!) hours over the next few weeks.
Wednesday November 29
Wallis: The Queen that Never Was, Channel 5, 9pm: It was said that the Queen Mother never forgave ‘that woman’ – Wallis Simpson - for creating a reluctant King of her husband, George VI. He is said to have fallen to his knees to pray that he would be spared the burden of becoming head of state during the abdication crisis of the 1930s which was caused when his older brother Edwards VIII gave up the throne for an American divorcee. This lavish feature-length drama documentary featuring Georgina Rich as Wallis and narrated by Humans stars Ivanno Jeremiah, takes a fresh look at her life and explores compelling evidence that she was not only the target of Edward VIII’s obsessional infatuation, but also the violent rages of her first husband who abused her.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Amazon Prime Video: The pilot edition went down a treat with viewers when it was aired earlier this year, so it came as no surprise when a full series was announced. Thankfully we haven’t had to wait too long for it to appear on our screens. For those who missed that debut episode, it focuses on Midge Maisal, a Jewish housewife in the late-1950s who, after discovering that her husband, a businessman-turned-stand-up comedian, has been cheating on her, decides to take to the stage herself, delivering routines based on her life. But it’s a chance meeting with the legendary Lenny Bruce and the formation of a writing partnership with a comedy club employee called Susie that may set her on the path to success.
Thursday November 30
Blitz: The Bombs That Changed Britain, BBC2, 9pm
During the Nazi bombing campaign of the UK, almost half a million bombs were dropped throughout the country.
While each one undoubtedly had the potential to alter a great many lives, and in most cases did so, most of these stories will go untold, lost in the tangle of tales which were left in the wake of the Blitz. The impact of the bombing on the country at large is widely known, but where this series, which began last week, truly excels is in its personal tales - each week focuses on just one bomb, one explosion, and the impact it had on those who leaved nearby.
Vikings, series five, Amazon Prime Video: The historical drama series is back for a new run, as fans wait to see what Vikings will be like without Travis Fimmel as King Ragnar. It’s not just the viewers who are missing him, as his death and the demise of his son Sigurd, has led to a civil war between his remaining sons. Ivar finds some powerful allies to support his claim to the title of ruler of the kingdom of Kattegat, but Ubbe and Lagtertha have formed their own rival faction. Meanwhile, in England King Aethelwulf and bishop Heahmund face their own fight against invaders, while Bjorn follows his destiny in the Mediterranean and Floki makes a discovery that will change his life - and the world of the Norsemen.
Friday December 1
Australian Wilderness with Ray Mears, ITV, 8pm: Ray Mears is Master Of The Elements, Nature and Distilling His Own Wee So He Can Drink It And Survive – this is a fact. If I was to be marooned on a desert island (and I know many of you would applaud this move) I would choose Mears over Grylls if I was given a choice of survival experts – I doubt I’d even have to verbalise the choice: Mears would probably sense that I needed him and just turn up having fashioned a light aircraft out of twigs, seaweed and his own saliva. Tonight is the last episode of his latest series and will see Ray seeking out giant trees and the creatures that live among them, including the elusive quokka, which looks like a typo but is actually a small, shy marsupial.
Dark, Netflix: Anyone who is looking for their next binge watch after finishing the second season of Stranger Things is in luck, as Netflix brings us this very promising 10-part German series. The trailer has already drawn comparisons to both Stranger Things and the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, which is perhaps inevitable given than it features kids venturing into the woods, including one boy in a yellow coat. However, Dark is very much its own programme, as it focuses on the case of two missing children, a time-bending mystery which will expose the relationships of four families across three generations, and bring to light a town’s sinister past. As the title suggests, it’s going to get very dark...
Voyeur: Netflix: At 84, Gay Talese is considered to be one of the giants of modern journalism, and this documentary follows him as he tackles one of the most controversial stories of his illustrious career. His subject is Gerald Foos, a Colorado motel owner who claims to have watched his guests via specially designed ceiling vents, and kept detailed journals of their most private moments. (The accuracy of these records has since been questioned by critics, who have noticed discrepancies in the dates). As Talase digs further into the story, he finds himself facing some big ethical questions, including how much trust he should put in a source with a track record for deception, and just what does a journalist owe to the people he or she writes about?