Weekend TV

Christmas telly starts in earnest this weekend which sees… well… there’s no point me talking about it in this ubiquitous opening paragraph when the rest of the article is a list of shows on this weekend (I do an opening paragraph because it feels a bit rude to just slap you around the eye with a load of programmes).

Anyway, this intro is too much like filler for my liking. You’re probably tired of this faux-irreverant throwaway fluff and really, all you want to know is what is on the television this weekend. In fact, you might not even want to know that as you’ve already scoured the listings yourself.

I don’t know why I bother.

Tonight: Heston’s Christmas Feast, Channel 4, 9pm

Heston is back on our screens to bring us his own foodie version of Dexter’s Lab. What japery is he getting up to tonight? Well, if you think he can’t outdo himself when he cooked a fictional beast, think again. Tonight, our man cooks dormice and whale puke. The slebs invited to eat his food should feel very fortunate indeed as this man is the finest cookery bloke on earth… if not that, certainly the most interesting.

Tonight: Swimming: Duel in the Pool – Europe v USA, BBC Three, 7pm

What? A swimming race? On TV? Is this some kind of joke? That Phelps bloke will be appearing or something.

Tomorrow: Take That: The Circus Live, ITV1, 6:30pm

The re-formed Manc heart throbs showcase one of the most spectacular musical shows ever performed (a gigantic walking elephant thing should make your head hurt) to a sea of middle-aged women singing along and remembering their first frig. Of course, you’ll know all the words too and, for a pop fan, it really isn’t one to miss. Start screaming now.

Tomorrow: Strictly Come Dancing Results, BBC One, 8:40pm

Like most, I’ve been watching The X Factor, so I’ve got no idea what is going on with this pracefest. Ricky is in it… as is Chris Hollins. I’m not sure if it’s the final because the BBC have done a spectacularly lame job of promoting the show so… er… yeah. Whatever. I’m just letting you know it’s on, okay?

Sunday: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, ITV1, 12:30pm

Christmas doesn’t officially start when you see those stupid Coke commercials. Christmas officially starts when you sit down and watch a stupid Christmas film with Chevy Chase in it.

Sunday: Oz and Hugh Drink to Christmas, BBC Two, 9pm

James May presumably knows too much about booze now, so Oz Clarke instead teams up with Hugh Dennis. Together, they get drunk and enthuse over every Christmas tipple past and present. That must mean sherry and Tia Maria and all that. The winter ales however, will make you salivate like a perv at a webcam.

Sunday: The Fattest Man in Britain, ITV1, 9pm

A horrible, horrible clash with BBC Two (and One if you like Cranford). ITV show Caroline Aherne’s latest project (which is always worth taking note of) which stars Timothy Spall (who is always worth watching) as a big massive fat git. Bobby Ball also appears on our screen too, which should be a laugh. Music is by Badly Drawn Boy… take that as you will.

What good programmes are being shown on our television sets this weekend? Well, for those of you who are still a slave to the listings and not fancy-dan like those with PVRs or super swish projectors rigged up to iPlayer… like me… who is jealous of these people… here’s what is on and when.

Friday: We Are Family, BBC Two, 9pm

This show reunites families who have drifted apart and of course, chronicles the resultant dramas and tribs. A bit like Who Do You Think You Are?, except it’s about real humans, as opposed to celebrities. Tonight, the Minchews are reunited and, be warned, you might even have a little cry watching this.

Friday: Johnny Cash: The Story of Folsom Prison, BBC Four, 9pm

Here we have a new film about the concert Cash played at Folsom Prison. This doc tells the story of the gig and, doing something that the original film skipped on, puts the whole thing into the wider context. Effectively, it’s got J. Cash in it… so it can’t be anything but brilliant.

Friday: Comedy Showcase: The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Channel 4, 10pm

Another newbie being tested out on you tonight. This time, it’s about an American office drone sent to London to sell rubbish drinks and of course, our main man is amusingly hopeless at his job. Sharon Horgan (from Pulling) also stars, so one to definitely watch.

Saturday: FA Cup Live: Northwich Victoria v Lincoln City, ITV1, 12:15pm

Matt Smith peers at the men kicking a ball with astonishment and Andy Townsend tries to arm-wrestle with the breeze. Jim Beglin will steal the show by saying things like “someone will kick that ball today… they may just kick it to someone else… or it will go for a throw-in or a goal-kick… I think that’s how it works”. We press mute and hope for a giant killing.

Saturday: The Cannonball Run, Five, 5:40pm

Loads of duff jokes and a star-studded cast are all housed in a ludicrous car race. This film is stupid but ace. It’s like Wacky Races or something, only starring Burt Reynolds, Sammy Davis Jr and Jackie Chan. What’s not to like?

Saturday: 7pm onward The Strictly Come Dancing/TV Burp/X Factor bit of the day

You know the drill by now. Sadly, this week features precisely no Jedward.

Sunday: FA Cup Live: Kettering Town v Leeds United, ITV1, 1:30pm

Will Leeds United get beaten by Kettering Town? Will ITV’s football coverage make you kill yourself before you even find out?

Sunday: The Queen, Channel 4, 9pm

Drama about Her Madge. There’s no more to be said about it really.

There’s the usual mix of X Factor and Strictly on all weekend, as well as a whole load of rugby… but away from that, here is the best of the weekend’s TV. I’ve not done any sarcastic jokes about middle management have I? They’re all idiots. Anyway… the telly…

Tonight: Children in Need 2009, BBC One, 7pm

This show splits the country into two camps. Those that hate it and those that go out to the pub so they don’t have to watch it. You know the drill by now. Funtimes for charity. Tonight we see The One Show team re-creating Fame, the cast of EastEnders celebrate 50 years of Motown (don’t think we’ve forgiven you for your failed pop career, Sid Owen), the BBC newsreaders perform a tribute to singer Beyoncé AND there’s an exclusive preview of the Doctor Who Christmas special.

Tonight: Coronation Street, ITV1, 8:30pm

Maria is in meltdown now that she knows about evil fiancé Tony! There’s lots of weeping and shouting around all this… and elsewhere, Gail’s long weird face seems to be oblivious to ol’ Joe. He’ll probably try strangling her at some point.

Tonight: I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, ITV1, 9pm

It’s the weirdest show on TV. We tune to watch other humans spirit slowly ebb away. If it doesn’t vanish quickly enough, we vote for them to do the most unspeakable things ever aired. Then they have to live off a diet of onions and mealworms or something. This show should really be called “The Public Get Their Revenge For An Imagined Crime”.

Tomorrow: Ugly Beauty, BBC Two, 8:45pm

Here we have a documentary hosted by art critic Waldemar Januszczak. He argues that beauty is still to be found in modern art. Normally we wouldn’t care, but there’s not much on TV come a Saturday night apart from X Factor is there?

Sunday: Top Gear, BBC Two, 9pm

Jeremy, Richard and James attempt to save the planet by building their own electric car. Of course, they won’t take it very seriously and it’ll all be a bit daft… but y’know, we need some silliness to see out the week don’t we? The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is Michael Sheen.

Sunday: Embarrassing Old Bodies, Channel 4, 9pm

A show where Christian Jessen and Pixie McKenna put a consoling arm around old people and their weird illnesses whilst the entire viewing public dry heaves at incontinence, bunions and varicose veins.

The weekend is here! That means, if you’re Northern, you’ll be eating loads of parkin and getting pleasantly fat. If you’re Southern… well… I’ve no idea what you’ll be doing. Suffice to say, the weather will be cold and you’ll no doubt want to spend a fair amount of your time avoiding the snap of the outdoors. Good thing that the TV is always waiting for you with open arms and a blank, cold stare.

Let’s have a look at the best this weekend has to offer.

Tonight: Comedy Showcase, Channel 4, 10pm

Channel 4 are tying out some new shows. Tonight, we get Campus. The show is from the team that gave us Green Wing, however, this one is, as the title suggests, set in a university. Go with your expectations low as this won’t be the same as Green Wing, however, I’ve got a feeling it will share that enjoyably strange feeling.

Tonight: Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop, BBC Four, 9pm

Excess, MOR, rock ‘n’ roll, cocaine, interband relationships… all documented on various records. Some brilliant, some wilfully eccentric. This is a show that any muso needs to tune in for.

Tomorrow: FA Cup Live: Paulton Rovers v Norwich, ITV1, 12:20pm

Forget the fact that Matt Smith looks like someone who still doesn’t understand the offside rule… forget that ITV are the only people stupid enough to employ both Jim Beglin AND Andy Townsend… and thrill at the first round of the FA Cup. We travel to Winterfield Road to see non-league Paulton Rovers play Norwich City.

Tomorrow: The X Factor, ITV1, 8pm

Everyone tunes in to see if Jedward are getting worse (I do hope so) and to gawk at Cheryl Cole’s wardrobe choices. Brassy, bold, dimwitter brilliance that makes Saturday night worth staying in for.

Tomorrow: Festival of Remembrance, BBC One, 9:15pm

A tribute to the fallen.

Tomorrow: The Thick of It, BBC Two, 10:15pm

A lesson in expert swearing, rudeness, weirdness and sheer puke inducing idiocy. The Thick of It is one of the greatest comedies ever aired on television. If you don’t like it, you’re probably thick.

Sunday: FA Cup Live: Northwich Victoria v Charlton, ITV1, 1:15pm

More football. Potential giantkilling afoot.

Sunday: The History of Christianity, BBC Four, 7pm

Christians. Remember those guys? They liked Jesus and we were all automatically one until a big terrorist attack reminded us all that some people weren’t. This six-parter looks at Christianity’s forgotten origins without fawning into Jesus Is Just Alright With Me territory.

The weekend is here and now that the nights are drawing in, it’s time to start thinking about hibernation. Of course, I’m not implying that you curl up into a tight ball and pass out in your own urine underneath a shed, but rather, stock up on ginger biscuits and fags and pull the duvet round your ears and watch 4 months of telly, straight no chaser. It starts this weekend and here’s the cream of a decidely average looking crop.

Tonight: Eastenders, BBC One, 8pm

So just who did Heather Trott ring in last night’s episode? How will he react when he hears her message telling him that he’s the father of little George Michael? Cue: Every male member (no pun intended) picking up their phones and listen to their voicemail. Whoever it is, they’re mental. No… not because Hev is a funny looking woman… because they went bareback dummy.

Tonight: Benidorm, ITV1, 9pm

Bad tans and dirty laughs.

Tonight: Rude Tube, Channel 4, 9pm

If you watch this show, then you’re clearly mentally ill AND have clearly never seen a dog on a skateboard before. Further evidence that, in a perfect world, Alex Zane would be banished to some remote place to fend for himself against bears.

Tomorrow: Strictly Come Dancing, BBC One, 7pm

The last 11 celebrities haul their arses out to do either a samba or an American smooth. The latter, alas, is not a drink. As ever, the two couples with the lowest combined judges’ score and viewers’ votes will perform again in the dance-off. No-one knows why this show works and as yet, Bruce Forsyth is still alive.

Tomorrow: The X Factor, ITV1, 8pm

Wrestling for girls continues to power its way through the listings and create a gigantic tremor that sucks all the spit from your mouth, leaving you confused, bewildered, thrilled, appalled and more. Last week, we saw the astounding John and Edward create the sound of 7 million jaws hitting the ground. As the theme for the show is Big Band, we can only hope that they’re given a stone-cold classic to ruin.

Tomorrow: Russell Howard’s Good News Extra, BBC Three, 9:10pm

Inexplicably, there’s a whole bunch of people out there who like Russell Howard’s wonky-eyed brand of comedy. Wittle Wussell will read the newspapers and when something has made him smile, he’ll tell us about it in this new show. Expect stories about nans and the like.

Sunday: FA Cup 1st Round Draw, 1pm, ITV1

Men pull balls from a bag and say football team names. They also say “the oldest cup competition in the world”.

Sunday: Not Forgotten: The Men Who Wouldn’t Fight, Channel 4, 7pm

Ian Hislop explores the stories of various conscientious objectors during the First World War. It should be good and Hislop asks if these people should be honoured? A nice twist on a genre that’s been done to death.

Sunday: Ray Mears Northern Wilderness, BBC Two, 8pm

“Good eating.” Ray Mears potters around unforgiving landscapes and lives off lichen and rotting eye-sockets. Fun times, eh?

The weekend is upon us and I, dear reader(s) will be going on some dodgems. I fully intend to find a weak, frightened child and relentlessly batter him with my electrical car until he grows a spine and punches me in the face. They’ll thank me for it one day. What? You want to know what the best of this weekend’s TV is? Why didn’t you say something?

Tonight: Have I Got News for You, BBC One, 9pm

Ian Hislop and Paul Merton return for yet another series to mock politicians mercilessly. Guest host is Martin Clunes and joining them are former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips and Charlie Brooker.

Tonight: Synth Britannia, BBC Four, 9pm

Proper instruments replaced by synths. What a great time for pop music. From the brilliant Britannia series, expect The Human League, OMD, Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Soft Cell, Heaven 17, Yazoo, and Gary Numan. Synth at the BBC, an hour of archived live performances, follows at 10:30pm. It should be brilliant.

Tonight: The Armstrong and Miller Show, BBC One, 9:30pm

The frightfully English Armstrong and Miller return to give us some Pimmsiness. The Second World War pilots are back and… you know the drill by now.

Tomorrow: The X Factor, ITV1, 8pm

Whitney Houston is the special guest on a show that really needs no introduction.

Tomorrow: Harry Hill’s TV Burp, ITV1, 7:30pm

People – stupid idiots in particular – sneer at Harry Hill’s TV Burp because it’s “it’s not as good as Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe”, missing the point that it’s a completely different show with a completely different slant. The only thing they share is that they’re being funny about TV. Charlie Brooker, for the record, told me that he loves the show. Watch it and laugh like a flushing toilet.

Tomorrow: Building of the Year: The RIBA Stirling Prize 2009 Live, Channel 4, 8pm

Which is the best building? Who won at buildings? There’s only one way to find out.

Sunday: Last Chance to See, BBC Two, 8pm

Blue Whales! Stephen Fry! Mark Carwardine! The Pacific Ocean! Sea-lions! Poo! Charming loveliness and animals and nature and BBCness.

Sunday: Emma, BBC One, 9pm

BBC make period drama. People fawn and stare out of windows for ages. People lap it up and say things like “no-one can do a period drama like the BBC”.

Hey! It’s the weekend! Got something cool planned? If you have, don’t tell me because I’ll invariably be sat in front of the box, petrified that I might miss anything half decent or news worthy.

I get very jealous.

As such, here’s the top picks of the weekend TV which will either be huge fun or fun to hurl abuse at. All the joys of television eh?

Tonight: EastEnders, BBC One, 8pm

Th’enders, lately, has been all Wife Swap between the Brannings and the Bradleys. It’s been ludicrous. Anyway, now it’s all over, Jane is the only one who has come out of the whole thing having learned something. Jane Rackham of the Radio Times says of Jane’s decision that it “leaves Ian gasping like a smacked haddock.” Should be good, trashy fun.

Tonight: Derren Brown: How to be a Psychic Spy, Channel 4, 9pm

Derren Brown is controlling me right now. He’s telling me that you should watch this show because it’s the greatest programme ever aired and that, in fact, Sir Derren’s goatee isn’t rubbish at all. He’ll be attempting to project a single image into the minds of viewers. Even if it doesn’t work, it’ll be fun. He is currently projecting something in my mind and, I don’t mind telling you… it’s sordid.

Tonight: Peep Show, Channel 4, 10pm

David Mitchell plays the geeky one. The Other One Who Did Flashdance is the one with misplaced cockiness. You know the drill by now. Tonight, Sophie reveals which one of them is the father of her baby.

Tomorrow: When Piers Met Sir Cliff, ITV1, 9:15pm

Nice guy Cliff meets up with pink faced meeja idiot for a chat about Jesus, plastic surgery, his sexuality and marriage.

Sunday: Come Dine with Me, Channel 4, 8pm

YAY! No celebrities! Dave Lamb slags off people from Manchester who are all cooking for each other.

Sunday: Kevin McCloud’s Grand Tour of Europe, Channel 4, 9pm

Kevin McCloud drives around Italy in a Fiat 500 and talks proper Italian to Italians whilst drooling over buildings and architecture. He’s a bit of a smug git, but he’s alright. You’d be smug if you could talk proper Italian and get paid to drive around in a cool little car in the sun.

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