TV Guide: What’s on this week?
- Credit: BBC/Tw
From The Grand Tour to The Crown, The X Factor Final to True Detective, there's a feast of TV fancies on this week
Stream it: Walter really does have presents for us this Christmas, as the on-demand service brings us a feast of foreign language dramas. Among the series available to binge watch is Burning Bush, a Czech drama about a young student who sets himself on fire in Prague in 1969 as a protest against the communist regime - and a lawyer's fight for justice when the authorities try to spread the story that his death was just a circus stunt gone tragically wrong. Other highlights include Home Guards, which explores what happens when a charismatic police chief decides to turn the aimless young men of a poverty-stricken Hungarian town into his own law-enforcement troops, and Frozen Sky, which plays out against a backdrop of social unrest in 1960s Germany.
Saturday: The X Factor, ITV, 7.05pm: It's the first of two live finals: who will win the (potentially) life-changing record contract? This year's contestants have been a cut(Kelvin) above – Rak-Su's self-penned songs are so catchy my husband sings them all week, Lloyd Macey has the voice of an angel, Grace Davies is a great song writer and jumpsuit advocate and Kevin Davy White can belt out a tune like a pro. But I'm feelin' Rak-Su for the win, despite that 'Netflix and chill' crime against George Michael.
Sunday: Coastal Railways with Julie Walters, Channel 4, 8pm: If beautiful scenery is more your thing than singing contests, hitch a ride on Channel 4 where Julie Walters continues her tour of the most beautiful and interesting stretches of coastal railway routes in the UK. On Sunday she leaves Newcastle to travel to Edinburgy, stopping at Alnmouth en route. She then heads to Berwick, goes to sea with a lobster breeder and visits the biggest gannet colony on earth .
Monday: The Real Marigold on Tour, BBC1, 9pm: The familiar faces are back, but this time they're not heading for India - instead, they're hitting the road for a variety of adventures. Each destination will be visited by a different group, but they all have two things in common - to learn how countries across the globe treat their pensioners, and to find out if they could live there themselves. It's a four-part run that begins when Miriam Margolyes, Wayne Sleep, Bobby George and Rosemary Shrager travel to Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan Province. More than 14 million people live there, and the population is ageing fast. It isn't Miriam's first trip to the country, but she struggles with the food while all of the travellers find the language barrier rather difficult to surmount. Let's face it: we've got this lot in the UK for life.
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True Detective, NOW TV/Sky On Demand, from Monday: The second season, starring Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell, got something of a mixed reception from viewers and critics, but if you want to know why their expectations were so sky high to start with, then you should catch up on the excellent, Emmy-award winning first run. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are both on excellent form as two homicide investigators with the Louisiana State Police's Criminal Investigations Division who haven't spoken to each other in a decade. However, they are both called in for questioning after new information comes to light regarding a macabre murder case they worked on together 17 years earlier. Let's hope the recently green-lighted third season can live up to it.
Tuesday: Holby City, BBC1, 8pm: Over the years Paul McGann has courted controversy in The Monocled Mutineer; had the keys to the Tardis for too brief a spell, and inspired many drinking games in Withnail and I (props list: gin, cider, ale, sherry, whisky, red wine, lighter fluid). His latest role sees him as Professor John Gaskell, a surgical star with irrepressible charm – it's why Uncle Monty loved him so.
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Wednesday: My Son: The Serial Killer, Channel 5, 9pm: This documentary examines Steve Wright, who was dubbed the 'Suffolk Strangler' after murdering five women who worked as sex workers, whose bodies he dumped in the countryside around Ipswich in 2006. He was jailed for life in 2008. Wright's father Conrad offers his deeply personal insights into the horrific crimes his son committed and the programme also features an exclusive interview with Isabella Clennel, the mother of one of the women brutally murdered by Wright, as she opens up about the impact her daughter Paula's death had - and continues to have - on her family. Tragic.
Thursday: Love, Lies & Records, BBC1, 9pm: Kate is horrified to discover that spiteful colleague Judy has sent Rob a flash drive containing theincriminating footage. Her only hope is to destroy the USB stick before stick before he sees it - but that proves easier said than done. Meanwhile, the registrars prepare for the raid on Kristina and Amir's wedding - a case that takes on increased urgency with the discovery of another young woman's body. It's all go at the registrars' isn't it?
Friday: The Year in Music 2017, BBC2, 9pm: Last year, most of the music retrospectives seemed to focus on the big names we'd lost in 2016, including David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen. But hopefully, this end-of-the-year round-up will prove to be a more celebratory affair as Claudia Winkleman and Clara Amfo look back at the musical highlights from the past 12 months, including the best albums, the biggest artists and some of the most unforgettable performances. Among the stars offering their take on 2017 are the Foo Fighters, Liam Gallagher, Stormzy, Nile Rodgers, Dua Lipa, Nick Grimshaw, Mistajam, and Jo Whiley, while Rag 'n' Bone Man obliges with an exclusive performance.
The Grand Tour, Amazon Prime Video, from Friday: After the resounding success of last year's inaugural season, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond return for a second run; each episode will be released on a weekly basis. We're promised a handful of changes and tweaks to the original format, but there will be the usual mix of banter, stunts and test drives on offer, with trips to Dubai, Germany, Switzerland and Mozambique set to take place. Hammond had much-publicised crashes during filming at the last two destinations on that list. Although the incidents hit the headlines, few details were released to the media so that the full story could be told during the series itself. Car models making an appearance include the Mercedes AMG GT R, McLaren 720S and Bugatti Chiron.
The Crown, Netflix, from Friday: Netflix's drama charting the life of the Queen is such a hit that even though season two is only just being made available, the third and fourth runs have already been confirmed, with Olivia Colman due to take over from Claire Foy as the older monarch. But before we get too carried away thinking about Queen Olivia, we have Foy's performance to savour in these 10 new episodes, which take the royal family into the 1960s. There will also be a greater focus on Matt Smith's Prince Philip as the Queen's marriage comes under strain and her husband struggles with the knowledge that he's now effectively outranked by his own son, while Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) gets to sample the swinging Sixties through her marriage to photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode).