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The Secret Life of Books
The Secret Life of Books

Allan Crow takes a look at the week’s TV highlights

(Tuesday, BBC4, 8.30 p.m.)

Bookshops on our High Streets should be protected by law.

I’m not talking about the Tescos of this world which simply chuck the top 20 light fiction books on a shelf and think that’s all there is to it - nope, we need to cherish, protect and support our true book retailers; places you can browse in leisure and find hidden gems by new authors.

This new series celebrates books - only six of them, but it’s a start.

Each week a presenter explores one novel - from Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ to Virginia Wolf’s ‘Mrs Dalloway’.

I hope it’s a success, and that it returns to broaden its remit to all genres, and spotlights some of our truly fantastic authors.

Crimes Of Passion

(Saturday, BBC4, 9.00 p.m.)
Scandinavian crime writing has exploded in recent years - in fact it’s started to overshadow some equally fine writing from these shores deserving of the attention of TV channels.

Still, this is more than worth watching.

‘Crimes Of Passion’ is based on the early novels of Maria Lang and features six self-contained episodes, starting with a wedding party in which the bride goes missing.

Through The Keyhole

(Saturday, stv, 8.30 p.m.)
The one-trick pony that is Keith Lemon now sits at the helm of what used to be a quaint and rather reserved panel game.

I don’t get the charm of Lemon at all, but he must be ticking some demographic to bag a prime time weekend slot in the company of the usual suspects as guests. Cue Joe Swash and Paddy McGuiness.

Two more reasons to go and watch Fife Flyers on Saturday night ...

Peter Kay; Live & Back On Nights! Part One

(Saturday, Channel4, 9.00 p.m.)
Channel4’s love-in with Kay goes on and on and on.

His stand-up shows are repeated often, and I could swear we’ve seen this backstage stuff before.

Or was it a different tour?

Much as I admire Kay as a comic - his live gig in 2012 was sensational - his hand is overplayed on Channel4.

This is for devotees only, so grab your garlic bread, sit back and enjoy.

The Great British Bake Off: Extra Slice

(Friday, BBC2, 9.00 p.m.)
I’ve no idea what sort of rammy occurred to get GBBO on to the front pages of the red tops last week and on to the sofa of ‘This Morning’ (I was on holiday, that’s my excuse for tuning in!), but the producers must have been chuffed to the base of their cupcakes.

Still don’t get the appeal of this show at all, but out there someone somewhere is taking it all very seriously, hence the spin-off as another wannabe baker is chucked oot.

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories

(Friday, stv, 9.00 p.m.)
This week it’s the turn of Alesha Dixon to shed some tears ...

Morgan is actually better than this format caters for - it’s tabloid telly complete with the usual soundtrack of heartstrings. His BBC version, filmed one to one, was sharper and more incisive, and his guests were much more interesting than the celebs ITV digs up.

Chasing Shadows

(Thursday, stv, 9.00 p.m.)
A new crime drama series which is definitely worth taking in.

Reece Shearsmith stars as DS Stone, a murder ‘tec who cracks cases no others can solve.

Of course he has to have some maverick elements to his character, - all telly cops do - and in this case he has been relocated into the Missing Persons’ Bureau to try to work out the links between teenage runaways.

He’s joined by sidekick Alex Kingston.