TV Highlights TV Highlights

New Series: Ambulance

Published Sun, 22 Apr 2018

New Series: Ambulance

Series 3 – Episode 1. Thursday 9pm – 10pm. BBC iPlayer.

Anyone who watched the previous series of this brilliant, compassionate observational documentary will remember Nat Greaves. Funny kind Nat, who decided to become a paramedic aged 34 because, as the mother of 16-year-old Jessica who has cerebral palsy, she wanted to help others as she had been helped.

Nat and her partner, also Nat, are back, responding to a call about an elderly lady who has hurt her ankle. But their shift changes dramatically when West Midlands ambulance control receives a 999 alert about Jessica from her carer.

Elsewhere during a busy 48 hours, we watch members of the mental health team calm an agitated man who has stopped taking his medication, and paramedic Justin blushes when 101-year-old former nurse Mary, who’s had a fall, flirts outrageously.

But the night ends in sadness with a visit to a dark, cold house and a painfully sad sight.

SUMMARY

Return of the award-winning documentary following the work of the West Midlands Ambulance Service. Call assessor Shanie, who has just graduated, guides a woman through childbirth over the phone, and a specialised mental health team is sent to help a man showing signs of agitation at a community centre. Meanwhile, a day shift takes an unexpected and very personal turn for paramedic Nat when a 999 call about an unconscious patient turns out to be referring to her teenage daughter, who has taken ill at school.

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Benidorm

Published Sun, 22 Apr 2018

Benidorm

Series 10 – Episode 8. Wednesday 9pm – 10pm, ITV Hub.

Blow and Go has disappeared – or rather the salon’s door and windows have been sealed up with bricks. Unfortunately, no one thought to check whether Kenneth – blotto after another bender – was still on the premises. Cue hours of anxiety, vituperation and slurping on strawberry hair wax for a man who, even on a gay day, dispenses outrage like a haywire sausage machine (a tour de force from Tony Maudsley).

Elsewhere, Loretta tries to poison Eddie with fruit juice, Sam goes snooping, and Joyce Temple Savage fires Monty, forcing him to beg work from Mr Wu and Sir Henry. It’s a bit like watching the later Carry Ons – you spy a decent cast gasping for far better material.

SUMMARY

Monty is in need of a new job after being sacked by Joyce, and has to decide whether to swallow his pride and go to Sir Henry, or see if Mr Wu has a fitting position for him. Meanwhile, Loretta and Eddie make secret plans for an anniversary party for Billy and Sheron back in the UK, but it looks as if the couple are making plans of their own. Elsewhere, things are not going well for Kenneth as he wakes up in Blow & Go after a big night out, only to realise that the builders have inadvertently bricked him in.

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New: The Split

Published Sun, 22 Apr 2018

New: The Split

Series 1 – Episode 1. Tuesday 9pm – 10pm BBC iPlayer.

Abi Morgan’s latest drama opens with a very familiar establishing scene, a chaotic, post-breakfast let’s-round-up-the-kids-for-school sequence, used here to signpost the happy tumult of family solicitor Hannah Stern’s home life.

As Hannah (Nicola Walker, in a horrible bright-white ice-cream man’s jacket) clip-clops to work in her spiky heels, she sees a distinguished man across a busy London square… Who can he be? And why is her relationship with her chilly mother so bad?
But first, to work! Morgan (The Hour, River) mines the heady, moneyed world of London divorce lawyers, the sharks who smell blood in the water whenever a marriage crashes – though of course not Hannah, who believes in honesty and decency at all times.

Naturally she is tested, by a ghastly millionaire who dumps his wife with maximum cruelty (Stephen Tompkinson and Meera Syal), and an unfunny stand-up comedian who cracks gags about his ex on stage.

SUMMARY

New series. Leading divorce lawyer, Hannah Stern, finds business is personal when she leaves the family firm for rivals Noble & Hale, and finally faces her father who walked out 30 years ago. Abi Morgan’s drama, starring Nicola Walker and Stephen Mangan.

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Series Finale: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Published Wed, 04 Apr 2018

Series Finale: Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Series 15 – Episode 7. Saturday 7pm – 8:30pm ITV Hub.

It doesn’t matter how many starry guests and glitter cannons ITV line up, the Florida-based finale to this series is going to have an Ant McPartlin-shaped cloud hanging over it.

Of course, the rest of the team will do their bit and the producers want to add some big Tinseltown names to the proceedings (unconfirmed rumours of James Corden, Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis have been swirling around), but it’s a big show for Declan Donnelly to carry on his own. With question marks still hanging over the TV future of the much-loved Geordie pair, we’d better make the most of him.

SUMMARY

Declan Donnelly presents the finale of the entertainment show live from Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, featuring super-sized audience surprises, incredible stunts and celebrity guests. Plus, Stephen Mulhern takes his pop-up game show In for a Penny stateside, and Scarlett Moffatt is on hand to ensure the Place on the Plane winners have an experience they’ll never forget. The identity of the Overlord is finally revealed in the conclusion of Saturday Knight Takeaway, and another player gets the chance to Win the Ads. Last in the series.

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New Series: Have I Got News for You

Published Wed, 04 Apr 2018

New Series: Have I Got News for You

Series 55 – Episode 1. Friday 9:30pm – 10pm BBC iPlayer.

Cometh the hour, cometh the Paxman. Yes, the erstwhile Newsnight inquisitor is making his presenting debut on the satirical quiz juggernaut that began life (in 1990) a year after Paxman started firing firm-but-fair questions at uncomfortable-looking politicians.

He may be mainly fishing or writing books these days but, with occasional appearances on Channel 4, he still has a foot in the current affairs game. So he will doubtlessly be relishing the opportunity to get stuck into today’s remarkably packed news agenda.

While he’s at it, he may also be keen to direct a few barbs at team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton and their guests, Josh Widdicombe and BBC Breakfast’s outspoken business expert Steph McGovern. After all, Paxo’s not a man given to holding back the sneer of cold command with anyone now, is he? Is he? Come on, come on, answer the question…

SUMMARY

New series. The satirical news quiz, still featuring original team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, returns for the first instalment of its 55th series, helmed for this first edition by veteran journalist Jeremy Paxman. Helping poke fun at the week’s events are comedian Josh Widdicombe and Watchdog and Breakfast presenter Steph McGovern. There are no general elections or major referendums on the cards this spring, but plenty to muse about as Brexit negotiations continue and the nation struggles in its relationship with Russia.

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Live International Football: Netherlands v England

Published Wed, 21 Mar 2018

Live International Football: Netherlands v England

Friday 7:30pm – 10pm. ITV Hub.

England have four friendlies before their first World Cup match against Tunisia on Monday 18 June. Four games to refine – but also to revive a belief that this side can be anything other than tournament no-hopers. Netherlands tonight are followed by a match against Italy next Tuesday. Both are footballing giants – but both, of course, will be absent from the World Cup, so it could be worse. Harry Kane, unsurprisingly, heads the team sheet, but where’s the backbone behind him? Keeper Joe Hart isn’t playing for his club, while centre back John Stones has not been the same player since his injury in December. Questions continue.

SUMMARY

Netherlands v England (Kick-off 7.45pm). Mark Pougatch presents all the action from the friendly at the Johan Cruyff Arena, as England began preparations for the World Cup. Gareth Southgate’s men qualified for the finals unbeaten, but he will still feel there is room for improvement as he looks to find his strongest team ahead of the finals in Russia. Despite finishing third four years ago and as runners-up in 2010, the Dutch have failed to qualify for the World Cup this time around and are now looking to rebuild under the guidance of new manager Ronald Koeman, who had spells as boss of Southampton and Everton. With analysis from Ian Wright, Lee Dixon and Patrick Kluivert, and commentary by Clive Tyldesley and Glenn Hoddle.

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Sport Relief 2018

Published Wed, 21 Mar 2018

Sport Relief 2018

Friday 7pm – 10pm. BBC iPlayer.

An intense evening of Lycra-clad entertainment to encourage you to jog over to your wallet, powerlift your credit card and throw some money at this charity. Once you’ve done that, you can kick off the trainers, settle down and enjoy this six-hour marathon without even breaking sweat.

It’s an exhausting schedule, however. Celebrity Boxing returns with six fearless (should that be foolish?) contenders including Wayne Bridge and Hannah Spearritt getting into the ring for a series of bouts; Robbie Savage’s all-star five-a-side football squad attempt to play a gruelling 12 hours of non-stop footie; and, swapping football strips for sequins and spray tan, David Ginola, Alex Scott and Chris Kamara show off their fancy footwork Strictly Come Dancing-style. That’s quite a lot of footballers for one show.

And, if you missed Zoë Ball’s progress as – undeterred by her near-complete lack of cycling experience – she rode from Blackpool to Brighton, you can catch up on her arduous journey. Plus, of course, there are reminders of why they’re raising money, and where your donations go.

SUMMARY

Gary Lineker, Davina McCall and Ore Oduba introduce the biennial fundraiser as leading lights in the worlds of sport, music and entertainment gather at MediaCityUK in Salford. 7.00 Kylie Minogue performs live, while Wembley Arena hosts a footballing edition of Strictly Come Dancing, with David Ginola, Alex Scott and Chris Kamara battling it out on the dance floor – while John Barnes also puts in a special appearance. Magician Ben Hanlin goes behind the scenes at Sports Personality of the Year wowing Anthony Joshua, Harry Kane, Paula Radcliffe and Michael Johnson with his tricks. At Salford Quays, some of the BBC’s top faces go head to head against talent from ITV in Celebrity Boat Race, while there are regular updates of Robbie Savage’s All Stars in their non-stop football marathon. 8.30 Claudia Winkleman and Paddy McGuinness present as John Bishop tries to help the England football team in their preparations for the World Cup finals. Plus, the first of several celebrity boxing fights as Wayne Bridge, Spencer Matthews, Hannah Spearritt, Vanessa White, Camilla Thurlow and Helen Skelton go head to head in the ring. Rob Brydon and the cast from Swimming with Men feature in a sketch, plus there’s music from Snow Patrol. Continues on BBC Two at 10pm and on BBC One at 10.35pm.

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Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Published Tue, 06 Mar 2018

Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway

Series 15 – Episode 3. Saturday 7pm – 8:30pm ITV Hub.

The entertainment variety show continues, with James Corden taking time out from his busy schedule across the Atlantic to join the Geordie duo as this week’s star guest announcer. Plus, there is more spoof mystery as Ant and Dec once again put their OBEs to use as part of a task force of celebrity secret agents with honours.

Stephen Mulhern is in Reading for the latest edition of In for a Penny, and in celebration of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s upcoming 70th birthday, the End of the Show Show features some of his best-loved numbers in the studio.

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New Series: Not Going Out

Published Tue, 06 Mar 2018

New Series: Not Going Out

Series 9 – Episode 1 – Home Improvements. Thursday 9pm – 9:30pm, BBC iPlayer.

I like the way that in his sitcom of suburban woe, Lee Mack adopts the body language of a man weighed down by life. Whenever he tries to demonstrate to his wife or her parents that he’s not the cretin they think, events prove otherwise, and all his wisecracks can’t help him.

As series nine opens, there’s no shortage of wisecracks: no show on TV cleaves more faithfully to the old-school set-up/gag rhythm, with all the pleasing regularity of a comedy drum machine. When Lee accidentally wreaks havoc on his parents-in-law’s lawn, he suggests, “How about we say foxes did it – how does that sound?” and wife Lucy shoots back, “Like a John Lewis Christmas advert.”

Strong support as always comes from a nicely sour supporting cast, particularly Geoffrey Whitehead as Lee’s withering father-in-law – a comedy type he long ago perfected. Nobody can spoon more contempt into the two syllables of “Good God!”.

SUMMARY

New series. Lee Mack and Sally Bretton return for the domestic comedy, which sees the couple continuing to go from one disaster to the next, while coping with their three kids, Lucy’s disapproving parents, Lee’s feckless dad Frank and world-weary friends Toby and Anna. In the first episode, Geoffey reluctantly allows Lee to help Lucy clear up the builder’s mess in their new kitchen extension. With Geoffrey Whitehead and Deborah Grant.

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New Series: One Born Every Minute

Published Tue, 06 Mar 2018

New Series: One Born Every Minute

Series 11 – Episode 1. Tomorrow 9pm – 10pm, All 4.

The 11th series moves to Birmingham Women’s Hospital, and this opening episode displays everything that makes the show so enduringly appealing: love stories, triumph over hardship and, of course, babies.

Samantha, 25, and Tony, 29, are having their third baby, but her complex medical history, including childhood leukaemia, along with a tragic first pregnancy, means this is a fraught and frightening experience.

It’s the second baby for Rav, 44 and Sharon, 33, whose workplace fling (their first kiss was in the security cupboard) turned into something more serious. And Rhiana, 26, and Lee, 30, are having their second child; her first birth was textbook, but the second is less straightforward.

SUMMARY

The award-winning documentary series moves to Birmingham Women’s Hospital, following the highs and lows of a new group of soon-to-be parents in the maternity ward. In the first episode, 25-year-old Samantha and her partner Tony, who struggled for years to conceive, return to the ward after losing their first child at 25 weeks. However, Samantha’s medical history means the birth is not without challenges. Meanwhile, 33-year-old Sharon and 44-year-old Rav come to the hospital expecting their second child together, and Rhiana and her partner Lee hope for another textbook water birth for the arrival of their second son.

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